November 1, 2017

All Saints

November 1, 2017:  All Saints Day

See 15 connections with today?
Legend below

For the gospel
For 2nd reading
For Psalm 24
    • Litaniae Sanctorum/Litany of the Saints chant:  LatinEnglish
    • Litany of the Saints/ Becker [lovely though not approved as Litany of the Saints in Catholic liturgy because it includes people not canonized and lacks called-for intentions]
Pope Francis

Today's Angelus:  Saints aren't perfect models but people marked by God; they're like stained glass windows bringing light into different shades.  Saints have received and transmitted God's light according to their own "tonality."  The purpose of life is to pass on God's light.

Jesus speaks to us:  "Blessed."  Whoever is with Jesus is happy; happiness isn't having something or becoming someone but being with the Lord and living for love.  The beatitudes, ingredients for a happy life, don't take tremendous gestures or superhuman effort; they're for us in our daily struggles.

The Saints have breathed air polluted by evil but never lost sight of the path of the beatitudes, the map of Christian life.  Today we celebrate all who have reached the map's goal:  whether canonized or brothers and sisters next door we've known; it's a family celebration of many simple and hidden people who help God push the world forward.

Tuesday homilyJesus compares God's Kingdom to a mustard seed and yeast, which though small, have power within to grow.  Paul says life's anxieties are nothing compared to the glory awaiting us.  In our sufferings is an ardent expectation for revelation of God's Kingdom; creation, also frail, has it too.  The strength that leads us to hope for God's Kingdom is the Holy Spirit.  This hope leads us to fullness; coming out of prison, limitation, slavery, and corruption, and reaching glory, is a journey of hope.  Hope is the gift of the Spirit in us who leads us to liberation and glory.  This is why Jesus says that inside a mustard seed is the force to unleash unimaginable growth.  The Spirit bursts forth and gives us hope.

In the Church is both courage and fear to sow seed and mix yeast.  Some feel secure with a “pastoral care of conservation,” that denies the Kingdom's growth.  Sowing the Kingdom does involve some loss:  you lose get the seed and dirty your hands.  Those who preach without getting dirty are like to museum custodians; they prefer beautiful things without inner force or growth. 

Jesus and Paul point to passing from the slavery of sin to fullness of glory.  Hope doesn't disappoint:  like a mustard seed and yeast, it's small and humble like a servant, but where there's hope, there's the Spirit, who carries the Kingdom forward.

Monday homilyGood shepherds are close to their people.  Luke uses five verbs to describe Jesus' action with the cripple:  he saw, called, spoke to, laid his hands on, and cured her.  The Pharisees and Sadducees, distant from the people, weren't good shepherds; they were closed in their own world and not interested in the people, except maybe much money they gave.  But Jesus was close to the woman, feeling compassion.  He was always there with the marginalized, those the clerical crowd rejected, the poor, the sick, sinners, lepers.  A good shepherd comes close and feels compassion, unashamed to touch the wounded flesh of the marginalized.  Good shepherds don’t say, “I’m with you in spirit” and keep their distance but rather do what God did in sending his Son:  show mercy and compassion by lowering and emptying themselves and serving.

The clerical crowd was close only to power and money; hypocrites uninterested in their people, they became offended when accused.  The crowd, who had suffered so much, rejoiced when they clerics were humiliated.  A good shepherd sees, calls, speaks, touches, and heals.  As God came close to us through Jesus, we'll be judged by how close we are to the hungry, sick, imprisoned, and needy.

Sunday Angelus:  Jesus unhesitatingly identified the commandments of love of God and neighbor as the greatest among the 600+ Old Testament precepts.  This response isn't obvious, because in some ways the Ten Commandments, conditions of the covenant, were the most important, but Jesus wants us to understand that without love of God and of neighbor, there's no true fidelity to the covenant.

Jesus was helping the Pharisees to understand what matters most.  His own words and actions showed love was essential.  Love gives impetus and fruitfulness to life and faith; without it, both are sterile.

His ideal corresponds to our heart's deepest desires.  We were created to love and be loved.  God created us to partake his life, be loved by him, and love him, and with him love all others.  This is God's dream for us, but we can realize it only by being open to his grace.  For this reason Jesus offers himself to us in the Eucharist, where we receive his Body and Blood; we receive him in his greatest expression of Love, his self-offering to the Father for our salvation.

  • Rv 7:2-4, 9-14  Angel: “Do no damage until we put the seal on God's servants.”  144,000 were marked, from every tribe of Israel.  White-robed multitude:  “Salvation comes from our God, seated on the throne, and from the Lamb!”  Angels worshiped:  “Blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to God!”  Elder:  “They made their robes white in the Lamb's blood.”

  • Ps 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab, 5-6  "Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face."  The Lord’s are the world and those who dwell in it.  Those with clean heart may stand in God's holy place; God will bless and reward them.
  • 1 Jn 3:1-3  See the Father's love:  We're God's children now and shall be like him; we'll see him as he is.  Hope; make yourself pure like God.
  • Mt 5:1-12a  Jesus taught:  “Blessed the poor in spirit, mourners, meek, hungry for justice, merciful, clean of heart, peacemakers, persecuted, insulted; they'll be comforted, satisfied, shown mercy, rewarded, inherit the land, see God, be called God's children, be greatly rewarded.  Rejoice!
  • Creighton:  On Nov. 4, Sr. Rani Maria will be beatified.  She worked among the poor and marginalized in central India.  Her education of the poor brought her into conflict with landlords and lenders.  A hit man stabbed her 54 times.  The murderer was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.  Sr. Rani Maria’s family visited him in prison.  Her mother kissed his hands as a sign of forgiveness.  Her sister tied a sacred thread on his hand to signify he was her brother.  He repented and was released.  The Heart of a Murderer (stream it free) tells the story.

Like this nun, many have given witness by their faith, courage, love, forgiveness, humility, commitment, and other virtues.  Some have been canonized; others are saints by being who they were or doing the best they could, cooking, working in offices or fields, teaching....  They're are blessed for they lived and loved unselfishly.  The Beatitudes describe the saints:  refusing to conform to the world's values, they were sensitive to others' needs and chose to be meek, live poor in spirit, work for the right), and live with pure hearts.  May we join them, standing firm and living faith with justice.  God wants all of us saved.  The 1st reading was written to provide strength to the Christians persecuted by Nero.  The multitude before God survived the great distress and are washed in the Lamb's blood.  The 2nd reading reminds us of God’s love for each of us and provides us with the hope that we'll meet God face to face.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Loved to be holy":  To become a saint, we must commit our lives to Jesus, desire to be holy in every area, and strive "for the holiness without which no one can see the Lord."  To do this, we must hunger and thirst for justice.  The Lord tries to increase our desire for holiness by commanding us and warning us of the consequences of not being holy, but it may not make an impression on us.  We want to avoid pain and be accepted and comfortable, but holiness entails surviving trials and being persecuted, insulted, and slandered.  To strongly desire holiness, we need something stronger:  "Christ loved the Church; he gave himself up for her to make her holy."  Christ loves us into holiness....
    All Saints/ Durer
  • Passionist:  In today's gospel, Jesus blesses the poor and downtrodden and lifts up peacemakers, the merciful, the clean of heart, those who hunger and thirst for justice.  In the 1st reading the author recounts a vision of a multitude who worship God and have followed Jesus.  The 2nd reading reminds us God’s love for them is so intense that may be called God's children.  “All Saints” includes saints from all ages, declared/canonized or not, including family members and friends we've known and whose memory inspires us.  But the living are also included:  Paul called his fellow Christians 'saints' or 'holy ones'; for him every baptized Christian was holy, graced by God.  To Paul it wasn't a matter of becoming holy; a Christian was already a “temple of the Spirit,” a member of Christ's Body.  The 2nd reading expresses, “We're God’s children now.”  The challenge is to be ourselves, to express our true selves in actions in accord with the gospel.  The All Saints and All Souls celebrations view the church as one assembly of people united and graced by God’s love, including us who “long to see [the Lord's] face” and those who have gone before us who now see the God “face to face.”
  •  "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great":  Jesus' message is that we can be happy by pursuing God's will for us through living the Beatitudes.  The Beatitudes respond to our natural desire for happiness, for entering into the Lord's joy; they also confront us with choices about how we live and how we use his gifts.  God alone can satisfy our deepest longings.  The beatitudes are a sign of contradiction to the world:  happiness through poverty, hunger, mourning, and persecution?  But poverty of spirit leads to finding true Treasure, hunger can be nourished through God's word and Spirit, and mourning over sin leads to freedom from guilt and oppression.  Jesus promises that heaven's joys will more than compensate for present troubles and hardships. "No one can live without joy; that is why one deprived of spiritual joy goes after carnal pleasures" (Aquinas).
Dress legend
  • 'Angel' pin:  Angels around throne:  “Blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might to our God!” (1st reading)
  • 'Lamb' tie bar:  A multitude stood before the Lamb; Salvation is from our God and the Lamb; the white-robed survived the time of distress and made their robes white in the Lamb's... (1st reading)
  • 'Blood drop' pin:  ...blood (1st reading)
  • White shirt:  Saints made their robes white in blood of the Lamb (1st reading); color of today's celebration
  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  Number of the marked (1st reading)
  • 'Children's faces' tie:  "Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face" (psalm); Saints (feast); the Father loves us so much, we're God's children (2nd reading)
  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  We shall see God as he is (2nd reading)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  The peacemakers will be called God's children (gospel)
  • 'Alps' tie pin:  Jesus went up the mountain (gospel); who can ascend the Lord's mountain? (psalm)
  • 'Hands' pin:  Those with sinless hands... (psalm)
  • 'Hearts' suspenders:  ...and clean heart may stand in the Lord's holy place (psalm); God's love, Saints' love; Blessed the pure of heart (gospel)
  • 'Boundless mercy' pin:  The merciful will be shown mercy (gospel)

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