Sunday, November 1, 2009 - Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14 - 1 John 3:1-3 - Matthew 5:1-12a

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Solemnity of All Saints

Reading 1
Rv 7:2-4, 9-14 Commentary by Oecumenius_Commentary by John Litteral

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.”

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab, 5-6

R.(see 6) Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.

R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.

R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.

R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Reading II
1 Jn 3:1-3 Commentary by St. Augustine_Commentary by CORNELIUS À LAPIDE

-----------------------------------Beloved:
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 Commentary by Theophylact_Ignatius Study Bible

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.”

—All Saints Day was is instituted to honor all the saints, known and unknown, and, according to Pope Urban IV, “to supply any deficiencies in the faithful’s celebration of saints’ feasts during the year.” Although local roots of this Solemnity go back as far as 397 A.D., Pope Gregory IV(827-844) extended the celebration on 1 November to the entire Church. The vigil seems to have been held as early as the feast itself. For Catholics, the Solemnity of All Saints is a holy day of obligation.
—Today’s Gospel is from the Sermon on the Mount [Sermon on the Plain in the parallel gospel of Luke (6:20-23)] and is known as the Beatitudes. A beatitude is defined as “a declaration of blessedness on the ground of some virtue or good fortune.” In the Old Testament, it is conceived as a communication of life (grace) from God (see Psalm 1:1, 33:12; Proverbs 20:7).
—The Beatitudes have been called Jesus’ “blueprint” of the Church and give us an idea of how his kingdom is supposed to “work.” According to The Catechism of Pope St. Pius X, “the various rewards promised by Jesus Christ in the Beatitudes all denote, under different names, the eternal glory of Paradise…The Beatitudes not only procure us the glory of Paradise, but are also the means of leading a happy life, as far as this is possible here on earth…Those who follow the path of the Beatitudes do receive a reward even in this life, inasmuch as they enjoy interior peace and contentment, which is the beginning, even though an imperfect one, of the happiness of heaven.”

QUESTIONS:

–What does each Beatitude mean to you? What gospel value is it calling you to live?
—How hard or easy is it for you to live this gospel value? How would living some, if not all of the beatitudes get you into trouble?
—How would living each of the Beatitudes become a blessing in your life?
—What beatitude challenges you the most and perhaps even repulses you a bit?
—Which beatitude makes you feel most uncomfortable? Which one is most puzzling? —Which one do you feel called to develop more in your life? Why?
—Overall, what are the Beatitudes calling you to live in your life? How can living the Beatitudes allow you to live more in imitation of Jesus and his holy ones, the Saints?

Catechism of the Catholic Church: §§ 1716-1729, 1024-1029

  • Convert those who do not believe with the example of your life, so that your faith has a motive. If God’s Word pleases you, act accordingly–not only God’s Word in your heart, but in your life so that you will form God’s family, united and pleasing in His eyes in all your actions. Don’t doubt, brethren, that if your lives are worthy of God, unbelievers will find faith.* –St. Augustine

Wow, Fidelis, your questions are hard! What is a gospel value? Have you got a
list of “gospel values”?

–This line struck me:
“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 wonder what that mark looks like? 999? Or some would say neither this
nor the 666 is an actual mark, but an allegiance of the mind.

– and this line
“We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is”
– is so mysterious to me. It seems like Jesus wasn’t like Himself when He rose
from the dead. He had scars now (holes), and people couldn’t recognize Him.

For the beatitudes, the reason why people are blessed when they are poor in
spirit(discouraged), or mourning, or meek, etc., is because God can now
encourage them, make them happy, and even give them land! When people
already have everything they need, sometimes they “don’t need God”. They
don’t know that God gave them all this, and it can be gone in a minute.

Your’re right, it is a tough question! I guess we could could try to come up with some “Gospel values” on our own, but why don’t we try using the traditional list of virtues and see what happens? Here’s the list:

Theological virtues: faith, hope, and love
Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord
Capital virtues: humility, liberality, brotherly love, meekness, chastity, temperance, and diligence
Speculative intellectual virtues: wisdom, science, and understanding
Practical intellectual virtues: art and prudence.
Cardinal virtues: justice, temperance, fortitude, and prudence
Virtues of justice: religion, piety, gratitude, liberality, affability, obedience, truthfulness, and friendship
Virtues of temperance: continence, humility, meekness, and modesty or decorum
Virtues of fortitude: patience, munificence, magnanimity, and perseverance

So with this as a point of reference, let’s look at the first Beatitude and the first question:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven."

–What does this Beatitude mean to you? What gospel value [or values] is it calling you to live?

I would choose fortitude, patience and perseverence. The reason is because I
don’t see “poor in spirit” as detachment from possessions. I see it as a feeling of
discouragement. feelings like boredom or sadness or worry. negative feelings of
the heart. Things we don’t feel blessed or lucky or happy to have. Jesus says we
are not only lucky, but the kingdom of heaven is ours, because He will change
all that. Fortitude, patience and perseverence are what we receive in it’s place…
That’s my opinion, what’s yours?

I don’t think it’s detachment either; rather, I think it means being dependent upon God for all things – not just materially, but our hope for the future, especially eternal life. So I would agree that the values this beatitude include fortitude, patience and perseverence – but it also involves faith, hope, religion, piety, gratitude, liberality, affability, obedience, truthfulness, and friendship, brotherly love, meekness, chastity and temperance. In short: all those virtues we are afraid to exercise because we are afraid it will cost us too much of our possesions and our very selves --all the while forgetting that God will fill up all that give away.

The All Saints Day readings are quite a mouthful and personally I find them very inspiring. The whole gist is - all of us can be saints!

I too particularly like the verse above. A very important one which some Protestants seem to miss.

The greatness of this promise is that we will be like Jesus the divine God when he is revealed to us; when we see him face to face and we will be like him. Of course this means we take all his glory after being cleansed and purified - we will be white as snow, pure without sin, like Jesus is. This can only happen when we meet him in heaven after we are purified by the cleansing fire of purgatory if we are not clean enough to be admitted to heaven right away.

So this is what it entails to be a saint and one day we too will be one. The time we spend on earth is the beginning process to achieve it.

God bless.

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