Solemnity of All Saints - Wednesday, 1st November 2017
Reading 1, Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14
3 'Wait before you do any damage on land or at sea or to the trees, until we have put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.'
4 And I heard how many had been sealed: a hundred and forty-four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel.
9 After that I saw that there was a huge number, impossible for anyone to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands. They shouted in a loud voice,
10 'Salvation to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'
11 And all the angels who were standing in a circle round the throne, surrounding the elders and the four living creatures, prostrated themselves before the throne, and touched the ground with their foreheads, worshipping God
13 One of the elders then spoke and asked me, 'Who are these people, dressed in white robes, and where have they come from?'
14 I answered him, 'You can tell me, sir.' Then he said, 'These are the people who have been through the great trial; they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb.
The Word of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all it contains, the world and all who live there;
2 it is he who laid its foundations on the seas, on the flowing waters fixed it firm.
3 Who shall go up to the mountain of Yahweh? Who shall take a stand in his holy place?
4 The clean of hands and pure of heart, whose heart is not set on vanities, who does not swear an oath in order to deceive.
6 Such is the people that seeks him, that seeks your presence, God of Jacob.
Reading 2, First John 3:1-3
1 You must see what great love the Father has lavished on us by letting us be called God's children -- which is what we are! The reason why the world does not acknowledge us is that it did not acknowledge him.
2 My dear friends, we are already God's children, but what we shall be in the future has not yet been revealed. We are well aware that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is.
3 Whoever treasures this hope of him purifies himself, to be as pure as he is.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
And I will give you rest, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel, Matthew 5:1-12
"Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven"
1 Seeing the crowds, he went onto the mountain. And when he was seated his disciples came to him.
2 Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:
3 How blessed are the poor in spirit: the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
4 Blessed are the gentle: they shall have the earth as inheritance.
5 Blessed are those who mourn: they shall be comforted.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for uprightness: they shall have their fill.
7 Blessed are the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be recognised as children of God.
11 'Blessed are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you falsely on my account.
12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven; this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.
The Gospel of the Lord.
The beatitudes are a sign of contradiction to the world's way of happiness
Reflection: The beatitudes which Jesus offers us are a sign of contradiction to the world's understanding of happiness and joy. How can one possibly find happiness in poverty, hunger, mourning, and persecution? Poverty of spirit finds ample room and joy in possessing God as the greatest treasure possible. Hunger of the spirit seeks nourishment and strength in God's word and Spirit. Sorrow and mourning over wasted life and sin leads to joyful freedom from the burden of guilt and spiritual oppression.
God reveals to the humble of heart the true source of abundant life and happiness. Jesus promises his disciples that the joys of heaven will more than compensate for the troubles and hardships they can expect in this world. Thomas Aquinas said: "No one can live without joy. That is why a person deprived of spiritual joy goes after carnal pleasures." Do you know the happiness of hungering and thirsting for God alone?
Prayer: "Lord Jesus, increase my hunger for you and show me the way that leads to everlasting peace and happiness. May I desire you above all else and find perfect joy in doing your will." Amen.