Fr Vincent's reflections on All Saints Day
We might not be in Heaven with the saints yet, but if we want to be with them someday, we need to learn to live like they did now. Jesus teaches us how in the Scriptures.
Watch the video: Fr. Vincent's reflections on the All Saints Day
Read the text:
All Saints Day Message 2020
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. R/. Amen.
The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. R/. And with your spirit.
On this Feast of All Saints (31st Sunday in Ordinary Time), let us pray:
Almighty ever-living God,
by whose gift we venerate in one celebration
the merits of all the Saints,
bestow on us, we pray,
through the prayers of so many intercessors,
an abundance of the reconciliation with you
for which we earnestly long.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. R/. Amen.
As before, if you don’t have your Bible with you, please pause this video to retrieve your Bible so you can follow along. The Gospel today is Matthew 5:1-12a.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”
The Gospel of the Lord. R/. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
When I was younger, I used to think that the Feast of All Saints was a way for the Church to include all the “unnamed” saints in Heaven to be on the Liturgical Calendar, to be able to say they are not forgotten. And, while this is certainly true, it is not the whole story. But I will get to the rest of the story momentarily.
On November 2nd, in conjunction with All Saints, we have the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed, or, All Souls Day. Again, this I learned early on in life was a way for the Church to include in one commemoration all the dead who were still in Purgatory on their way to Heaven. Praying for the “faithful departed” goes back to the Old Testament Book of Maccabees, written a couple hundred years before Jesus.
The saints in Heaven and the souls in Purgatory are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all part of the One Body, the Church. We honor the “Church Triumphant,” and pray for the “Church Penitent,” because we are the “Church Militant.” The Church on earth is named “militant” because we are actively fighting the evil of Satan in this world, preparing ourselves for the glory of Heaven.
So this is where I come to an expanded way of considering the Feast of All Saints. You see, every member of the Church, whether Militant, Penitent, or Triumphant, can be considered a “saint!”
The souls in Purgatory are saints in reserve. They are being purified and made into the spotless, white-robed saints of Heaven. They would not want to enter Heaven less than pure, so they have accepted their purgation as a final act of love for God and to give glory to His justice. Because of this humility and obedience to God, they are saints “on the way.”
We on earth are saints in training. We are learning all we can about being fully connected to God through the Church, the Body of Christ, so that we can become part of the throng of holy ones gathered around the Throne of God. Our brothers and sisters already enjoying the fullness of God’s glory are tirelessly at prayer entreating God’s grace for us. They want nothing more than to have all of us join them in eternal bliss. But unlike the saints in Heaven or even the souls in Purgatory, we can still lose our way and fail to be “in that number when the saints go marching in!”
Thus, our Scriptures for All Saints, and our prayers, are not just about the saints of Heaven but more so about ourselves who need help to persevere and to practice the heavenly virtues which will gain us that ultimate gift of eternal life. The Beatitudes remind us that we should not focus on what this life offers, but rather focus on what God gives to those who live for the higher purpose of heavenly life. It will never be easy or rewarding here, but as a member of the Body of Christ, as someone yet to be declared a saint, you and I must never tire of the efforts to be blessed by God. We each need to be one of those “saints” whom we celebrate today!
The Lord be with you. R/. And with your spirit.
And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever. R/. Amen