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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

November 1st: Solemnity of All Saints
1st Reading (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».
Responsorial Psalm: 23
R/. 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.

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.

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.
2nd Reading (1Jn 3:1-3): 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.
Versicle before the Gospel (Mt 11:28): Alleluia. Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, says the Lord. Alleluia.
Gospel text (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.”

"Rejoice and be glad"

Mons. F. Xavier CIURANETA i Aymí Emeritus Bishop of Lleida (Lleida, Spain)

Today, we celebrate the reality of the Mystery of Salvation. A reality that we evince in the “Creed” and which is very comforting: “I believe in the communion of saints.” All saints, who have already passed from death into eternal life, from the Virgin Mary on, form a unity; they represent the Church of the Blessed, whom Jesus congratulates: “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God” (Mt 5:8). At the same time, they join us in communion, too. Because the saints already enjoy the eternal vision of God, they cannot be united to us through faith and hope; but, they can, instead, be united to us through charity. “So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1Cor 13:13). Charity understood as that kind of love that links us, through them, to the same Father, to the very same Christ Redeemer and to the same Holy Spirit; the kind of love that makes them supportive and solicitous with us. Therefore, it is not that we venerate the saints only because of their exemplarity. There is a stronger reason than that: to be united in Spirit with the whole Church invigorated by the practice of the fraternal charity.

Because of this deep and profound unity we must feel close to all those saints that, before us, have believed what we now believe, have waited for what we are now waiting for and, mostly, have loved God Father and their brothers, also seeking the imitation of Christ's love.

The saint apostles, the saint martyrs, the saint confessors, who have lived through history are, therefore, our brothers and our intercessors; on them, these prophetical words of Jesus have been fulfilled: “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.” (Mt 5:11-12). The treasures of their sanctity are like family assets, which we can rely upon. These are the treasures in heaven, which Jesus invites us to store up (cf. Mt 6:20). As the Vatican Council II asserts, “Thus by their brotherly interest our weakness is greatly strengthened.” (Lumen gentium, 49). This solemnity brings some comforting news, which invites us to joyous festivities and celebrations.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • "Divinity is purity, it is liberation from the passions and the removal of every evil: if all these things are in you, God is truly in you" (Saint Gregory of Nyssa)

  • "We are not alone; we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses: with them we form the Body of Christ» (Benedict XVI)

  • "The sixth beatitude proclaims, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Mt 5:8). "Pure in heart" refers to those who have attuned their intellects and wills to the demands of God's holiness, chiefly in three areas: charity; chastity or sexual rectitude; love of truth and orthodoxy of faith. There is a connection between purity of heart, of body, and of faith" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2518)