Gospel Reflections

Feast of All Saints

Matthew 5:1-12a

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Justine Mokoko

Published: November 01, 2016


The Church celebrates the Feast of All Saints on November 1, but sometimes this feast is not a joyful day, as it should be. Some customs have transformed this happy day into a day for visiting cemeteries, awakening sad memories. But the hope of our Christian faith helps us to replace the sadness of separation by the hope of future meetings with those who have died. All Saints Day does not simply evoke memories, but for us as Christians, it is a celebration of the future because the holiness which God reveals to us is actually our future. We are all called to become saints. 

As a way of sharing the joy of the saints whom we celebrate today, Jesus presents the Gospel as the way which leads us to the perfection of sanctity. Let us not forget that God alone is holy and we strive for this holiness. 

When Jesus saw the crowd who followed him he climbed the mountain, sat down and the disciples came near him (Matt. 5: 1). Why did Jesus climb a mountain? We see again in Matt. 17: 1, Jesus takes with him Peter, James and his brother John and leads them apart to a high mountain. The mountain for Jesus is a place of encounter with God the Father, a place of communion with his Father, a pure and holy place.

Upon seeing the crowd who followed him, Jesus climbed the mountain and sat down, and the disciples approached him. We can say that Jesus attracts the crowd who follow him in the same way as he did the disciples, to a place of meeting where they would listen to the word of God. Jesus does not remain standing, but sits down because the message which he is about to deliver is very important. Then, opening his mouth, he begins to instruct them. Jesus announces the new law. This is the first time people would hear this kind of message.  He said:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, the kingdom of heaven is theirs!  The poor in heart are the humble, those who put their confidence in God, who recognize the greatness of God, that all that they have and are gifts from God. They are not just managers.

Happy the gentle: they will possess the earth: Christ is gentleness par excellence, the one who does not turn away from the Samaritan and who lifts up the adulteress.  

Happy the peacemakers, they will be called children of God. Christ invites us to pardon our enemies, and he was a shining example of this: “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”  Forgiveness of enemies is particular to Christ, to Christians. In the Hebrew Scriptures we read of “an eye for an eye;” but today Christ invites us to pardon even our enemies. Pardon can only be achieved through the grace of the Holy Spirit. 

The Beatitudes are the way to true happiness which Jesus Christ teaches us; the law which he lays out for us; the way to true life: he shows us the way which leads to true happiness. Today as in the past we need heroes and models. The saints also traveled their way as we do. Their life was a struggle against the forces of evil. What God did for each of them he wishes also for us.  

In union with the immense throng of all the saints in heaven and all the Christians in the entire world, let us join our voices as we sing our thanksgiving to our God. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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