November 1, 2016 – Tuesday in the 31st Week of the Church Year

Today’s Feast: All Saints Day

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Revelations 7:2-4, 9-14   –   Psalm 24   –   1 John 3:1-3   –   Matthew 5:1-12

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, say the Lord.” (Today’s ‘Alleluia Verse’ before the Holy Gospel)

Today’s celebration of “All Saints Day” is meant to draw us into the reality of what our life is all about. We are not to sit in the bleachers looking out at ‘those who have made it’ but we are to be drawn into the reality that we are all in this together. In the early Church all the believers were called, “saints” and this should give us courage and hope that holiness is not something reserved only for those special heroes but is meant to include all of us “on the way to heaven.”

I get great comfort out of the stories in the OT which give us accounts of those special persons who are called by God to be leaders. In most cases these are rag-tag people – not especially noted for their ‘holy lives’ who are called to have a special role in helping others come to an awareness of what it means to follow God/Jesus. And they didn’t always succeed in doing this well. So I get great comfort knowing that those special people of old were just like me: fickle, self-centered, failure-prone yet still called by God to a special ministry.

The same can be said of all the characters that we meet in the NT. Those who actually walked with Jesus and were able to see first hand what the journey to the Kingdom was all about. And still, many of them were also ‘back-sliders.’ Yet God never gave up on them. As we hear in the reading from Revelation, “these are the ones who have come through the great tribulation and washed their robes in the blood of the lamb. I love that image: being washed in the blood of the lamb. Not an image that we would think would work. Yet this is how God deals with each one of us. He ‘writes straight with crooked lines!’

As an exercise, I would like to take the “Beatitudes” and put them up against Paul’s list of the ‘fruits of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:23ff) and see how they match up. I’ll leave that for you to do on your own. I think it might help us in our understanding of how it is possible that you and I could be considered “saints!” Happy Feast Day, Saints!

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