Feast Of All Saints
(Feast Day reflection)
The Responsorial (Psalm 24) identifies us: “Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.”
The readings focus us on the blessing of the Good News; not as just beginning—“The Kingdom of heaven has come near”—but as brought to fulfillment. This feast is a victory celebration. As is the Rite of Communion at Mass (Matthew 4:17; 10:7; Revelation 19:9).
Revelation 7:2-14 places us at the “end time” among those who are redeemed:
A great multitude that no one could count, from every nation... standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.
The palm “in Christian liturgy and art has become the symbol of the martyr,” a symbol of victory over death, celebrated in the Rite of Communion as the blessing of all the redeemed: “Blessed are those invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (John McKenzie, S.J., Dictionary of the Bible).
These... have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Death is a “great ordeal” for everyone. It is the “greatest free moment of life,” and also the most challenging. In death we literally renounce all we have and are attached to, in order to say “Yes!”— willingly—to God calling us to himself. In this “Yes!” our faith, hope, and love are brought to perfection.
1John 3:1-3 tells us this:
We are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.
To “see him as he is” we first have to accept in total faith that he is as the Scripture says he is. And trust in total hope, based on Jesus’ promises, that in union with him we find everything and everyone from whom death seems to separate us. In short, in saying “Yes” to death, we love God as All, obeying for the first time, fully and irrevocably, the First Commandment:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27).
We accepted this already in Baptism, when we said “Yes” to dying “in Christ” on the cross and rising out of the waters of his blood a “new creation.” Our first “Yes” to death is completed in our final one (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1010).
Matthew 5:1-12: The “beatitudes” reverse the values we learn from the “world” of our culture. If we take them at face value, we realize we don’t initially believe any of them. We don’t believe we are “blessed” to know we are inadequate; to be grieving; powerless; focused on “holiness” over “practical” things; acknowledging relationship with everyone; unwilling to compromise our ideals; willing to die rather than to kill; and glad to pay the price of all this in a society that finds it insane. (Reread the Beatitudes; this is what they say). But in truth, the Beatitudes are our blessing. To grasp the Good News is to know this.
Action: Count your blessings. Use Christ’s words to identify them.