This week we celebrate the Solemnity of all Saints, which comes right after Halloween (“Hallow e’en”, evening of All Saints). The Gospel according to Matthew is from the beginning of the Sermon of the Mount (Chapters 5 through 7) in the section referred to as “The Beatitudes”. The opening of the sermon was probably designed to shock the audience as a deliberate inversion of standard values. Jesus talks about a group of people normally thought as unfortunate or unblessable and pronounces them well-off and fortunate (blessed) because of the presence and availability of abundant life in God's kingdom to everyone, regardless of status, circumstances, or condition. Jesus enumerates eight characteristics of people and the benefits each of them renders. As we honor all the Saints that preceded us we may recognize the beatitudes as a foretelling how they were going to be: satisfied when hungering and thirsting for righteousness, comforted when mourning, inheriting timid ones (the meek), mercy showing peacemakers, rejoicing and glad when persecuted. At the same time some of Jesus’ statements about the poor, the mourning, the meek to be declared fortunate, i.e. blessed sound rather daring. I don’t believe that Jesus is praising the powerlessness. I read it as a statement that those free from the illusion of worldly power can find the lasting gifts of happiness. The original Greek source speaks about ‘praos’ that was translated into ‘meek’. Praos means more tan humble and timid, along the lines of becoming tamed (as for a wild animal being domesticated). It could be interpreted as a recommendation to develop the inner strength to manage one's automatic reactions and aversions, suggesting a capacity for going against all natural resentfulness and passion and anger.
Some ancient writers saw a parallel as well as a contrast between Moses receiving the Law on Mount Sinai, and Jesus pronouncing the Beatitudes on the
This week’s First Reading from the Book of Revelation is written in apocalyptic style. Apocalypse literally means the
disclosure or revealing of something hidden. It has a Greek-myth root which is quite interesting. Things have been hidden about the sufferings of the early followers of Jesus.
The Second Reading is from the same author as the Book of Revelation, the Gospel Author and beloved apostle John. While declaring that we are God’s children now it acknowledges that it has not yet been revealed what it is we shall be. Purity is achieved through hope of becoming like Him.
On this Feast of All Saints we recognize the dying and the silent waiting for new life to unfold beyond our sight. In faith we honor all of the saints, ancestors who have preceded us, heroes and heroines of life lived in love and trust. We pray for those who have died and who await the fullness of glory with and in God. We remember all those who have died. We lift up their names in gratitude, entrusting them to the love and mercy of God. And we think about our own destinies and futures, soberly reminded that aging is a progression – not a loss.
The complete text of today’s
With God’s Love and Blessings,
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