Dear Parish Family,
Happy All Saints day! Every year on November 1st, the Church takes a pause to recall the example, witness, and prayer of the holy women and men who have been identified by the Church as Saints. On this feast day it is so perfect that the Gospel proclaimed is Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, in particular, the Beatitudes. We hear the words “Blessed” in some translations the words “Happy”, “Fortunate” or “Favored”. These words help us understand what Jesus is saying, that there is divine favor for the poor in spirit, the meek the persecuted.
As was expressed in the second reading, to be a Christian means that at times we live contrary to the ways of this world. The world says success is based on wealth, but Jesus says we are to be “poor in spirit.” Money itself is not bad, but “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Jesus calls us to be detached from wealth. Furthermore, the world tells us to seek pleasure. Just think of the popular phrase, “Do what you want, whatever makes you happy” Rather, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn.” The world tells us to seek power, but Jesus says be “meek.” Moreover, the world says honor and the approval of others is important, but Jesus says, “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness.”
The Beatitudes can be understood as a framework for Christian living. Simply put, they are the “how to’s” of sainthood. There is a reason why in the process to declare someone a saint they are “Beatified”. Saints are “meek;” they are “pure of heart;” saints are “merciful” and “peacemakers;” they “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” God’s children are even willing to be persecuted and insulted for the sake of Christ. Therefore, if we want to be a saint, we must seek these things. On this day, we too are challenged to model our lives on the spirit and promises of the Beatitudes. If you find it difficult, just remember, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” In other words, it’s all worth it in the end.