“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”
Reflections on the readings for the Solemnity of All Saints (November 1, 2019): RV 7:2-4, 9-14; PS 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6; 1 JN 3:1-3; MT 5:1-12
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Today we honor all those who are in heaven. While we tend to think of those who have been canonized as saints, in truth, all people who have gone before us and who rejoice in God’s presence for all eternity are saints.
And the Church has longed venerated them. By the 4th century there was a commemoration of all who were martyred for their faith in Christ. In the early 7th century, after invaders attacking Rome plundered some of the catacombs, the pope had the bones of the dead reinterred beneath what had been a Roman temple known as the Pantheon. The church that was built there was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints. While the date of this feast varied for several hundred years, the Church finally determined that All Saints Day, also known as the feast of All Hallows, would be celebrated on November 1, in association with the feast of All Souls the next day.
In His Sermon on the Mount, which we hear in today’s Gospel, Jesus preached to His disciples about what it means to live a truly holy life. Such a blessed life is really a reflection of His own love for the Father and for all His children, and we refer to this vital message as The Beatitudes. “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” (Matthew 5:6-8). This is what the Lord asks of each of us. All followers of Christ are called to be merciful, humble, and righteous; to be clean of heart, to accept persecution, and to be peacemakers. Loving God and loving our neighbors is the essence of a saintly life whoever and wherever we are. And our reward will be the glory of rejoicing together in the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom.