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Solemnity of All Saints – November 1st
Readings: Rev 7:2-4:9-14; 1 Jn 3:1-3; Mt 5:1-12a.
Reading 1 (Rev 7:2-4, 9-14):
I, John, saw another angel come up from the East,
holding the seal of the living God.
He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels
who were given power to damage the land and the sea,
“Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees
until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”
I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal,
one hundred and forty-four thousand marked
from every tribe of the children of Israel.
After this I had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne,
and from the Lamb.”
All the angels stood around the throne
and around the elders and the four living creatures.
They prostrated themselves before the throne,
worshiped God, and exclaimed:
“Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving,
honor, power, and might
be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me,
“Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?”
I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.”
He said to me,
“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;
they have washed their robes
and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”
Reading 2 (1 Jn 3:1-3):
See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us
is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.
Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure,
as he is pure.
Gospel (Mt 5:1-12a):
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”
Written by: Fr. Anthony Tien M. Dinh, OP.
I. THEME: The Beatitudes is the way to become a saint.
There was a young lion, who lived with a herd of goats because his mother died when he was born; he adapted and lived like a goat. One day, a huge lion was called the lord of the forest, passed by; a herd of goats ran away to protect their life, the young lion also followed them. The lord of the forest surprised because of the young lion’s action, so he ran after and seized him. He led him to a spring and told him: “Look into the spring and see! You are also a son of the lord of the forest, why were you fear and ran away like those timid goats?”
We are created according to God’s image and likeness (Gen 1:26-27) and are fellow citizens with all the saints whom we celebrate today (Eph 2:19). Since we are created in God’s image and likeness, today is the proper day for us to look into the mirror, the lives of the saints, to see how much do we look alike them.
Today readings help us to reflect. In the first reading the author of the Book of Revelation reminded us that the saints are those “who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” In the second reading, St. John reminded us of our vocation to be God’s children which we have received in our Baptism. How do we live this vocation in our life? In the Gospel, Jesus taught us a sure way to become a saint is to live according to his Beatitudes.
1/ Reading I: “These are those who have come out of the great tribulation.”
1.1/ The first vision: those who were sealed. Before the angels harmed the earth and the sea, the servants of God have been sealed. The vision reported the people who were sealed are one hundred and forty-four thousand people, out of every tribe of the sons of Israel. This is a symbolic number, it is not an actual amount of people who were saved.
1.2/ The second vision: “a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.” They proclaimed two things:
(1) God the Father: “Our God who sits upon the throne.”
(2) The Lamb is Jesus Christ: “The Lamb is the one who saved us.”
And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.”
1.3/ All the saints are those in their white robes: One of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?”I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” White is the color of victory.
The saints are those who lived a life according to Christ’s teaching. They forfeited a selfish and individual life to accept all sufferings, and even death to witness for God.
2/ Reading II: See what love the Father has given us.
(1) The vocation of God’s children: For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him will be God’s children (Jn 1:13), and should not perish but have eternal life (Jn 3:16). We are not children of the world: “The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”
(2) The reward of God’s children: Both St. John and St. Paul agreed on this point. According to St. Paul, if we are God’s heir, we have a right to inherit God’s inheritance (Rom 8:17). The reward for God’s chidren is the eternal life and all the glory which Christ has received from the Father. According to St. John as he advised his disciples: “Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
(3) The duties of God’s children: If there is a right, there is also a duty to fulfill. According to St. Paul, if we shared in Christ’s suffering, we will also share in his glory (Rom 8:17). According to St. John, we must be pure, that is, holy; because: “every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”
3/ Gospel: The Beatitudes is the way to become a saint.
We use the Beatitudes as the standard to compare three ways of life: of Jesus, of the saints, and of the world.
(1) “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” When the disciples asked Jesus, “where do you live?” Jesus answered them “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.” St. Francis of Assissi, though he was the son of a famous merchant, imitated Jesus by took off his clothes, gave back to his father, and followed Jesus to live a life in poverty. To the eyes of the world, it is a stupid decision since most of people desire to be rich.
(2) “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, `An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Mt 5:38-39). In his Passion, Jesus was liken as a meek lamb to be slaughtered. St. Francis de Sales, though had a nature of very hot temper, imitated Jesus to become a gentle and humble person. To the eyes of the world, meekness is equal to unintelligent person to be used by others.
(3) “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” In the Olive Garden, Jesus said to his three beloved disciples: “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” St. Monica, Augustine’s mother, poured out so much tears in life forher family. In compensation, her husband repented on his death bed; Augustine also repented and became a great saint. The worldly people run away from tears and suffering. For them, whoever wants to be suffered is abnormal person.
(4) “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Jesus declared: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me”(Jn 6:38). All of his life was a sacrificed life for God’s will. St. Thomas Moore, when was told to lie in order to live, courageously declared: “I am ready to accept death, not to accept falsity to be right.” The worldly people consider to live righteous is foolish because everybody must bent in order to achieve what he desires.
(5) “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Jesus had compassion to all who suffered and he healed them. He moved with pity for people who lived in Jerusalem and cried out: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” (Mt 23:35). St. Martin de Porres brought the sick to his bed and cared for them while he himself slept on the floor. Mother Theresa of Calcutta dedicated her whole life to serve the poor. The worldly people are worry about themselves first because they think “if I have mercy on people, will they have mercy on me?”
(6) “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Jesus challenged his opponents in his Passion: “Who among you can accuse me of any sin?” St. Mary Goretti accepted death from her cousin to protect her virginity. Today youth mentality consider having sex before marriage is normal, and make fun of those who want to be pure as homeboys or homegirls! How many mothers today dare to challege their children that “I would rather see you to die before me than to commit a serious sin!”
(7) “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Jesus has used his death on the cross to reconcile the Jews to the Gentiles; and to reconcile both of them to God. St. Bernadino de Sienna imitated Jesus to reconcile his enemies. In the worldly eyes, reconciliation is weak and let people to take advantage of them. The results of “getting even” attitude are divorce, separation, fighting and war.
(8) “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” Jesus went ahead to die for people as he foretold. So many martyrs of generation after generation courageously died to show their love for God. The Vietnamese also contributed 118 of them. St. Andre of Phu Yen, a young man of 17 years old, advised those who had mourned for his young death: “We must take love to compensate our love for Jesus; and take death to compensate for his death.” Many people think martyr is not necessary; they think they only need to believe God in their heart. Many people betrayed God and refused to be his witness before the world.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– Suffering is used to purify us as fire is used to purify gold. We show our faith and love for God when we accept suffering to witness for Him.
– Returning to the story of the young lion from beginning of our meditation, since we are God’s children, we must live according to our vocation. Don’t hide in the darkness as the chidren of devils or of the world. We are created as God’s image, and holiness makes us to become more like God everyday.
– The vocation to become a saint is for everyone. The Beatitudes is the way to perfection. We must try to live all the Beatitudes.