November 1, 2019 All Saints Day Fr Andy Upah
Nov 11, 2019
Solemnity of All Saints
Reading 1 RV 7:2-4, 9-14
Responsorial Psalm PS 24:1BC-2, 3-4AB, 5-6
- (see 6) Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Reading 21 JN 3:1-3
Alleluia MT 11:28
- Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel MT 5:1-12A
Homily for Nativity on the Solemnity of All Saints 11-1-2019
One of the things I love about celebrating Mass here at Nativity in particular are these Angels on the wall behind the Altar. There are three sets of three, which I found out the other day helps kids learn their multiplication tables, but anyway the 9 Angels represent the 9 choirs of Angels.
At every Mass, right before the Eucharistic Prayer, I pray the preface, in that preface we always mention joining with the Angels and the Saints. Today I will say, “And so, we glorify you with the multitude of Saints and Angels, as with one voice of praise we acclaim: Holy…”
From there we all sing the “Holy, holy” but what I am always thinking about is how the Angels and the Saints are singing that hymn of praise right along with us, and it is so real that they are massively present here at Nativity. I love the image, especially because it depicts and reminds me of the reality.
In our first reading from the book of Revelation, we get a glimpse of this reality, a great multitude, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, crying out in a loud voice together. Wherever Jesus is present, there too are the Angels and the Saints, in praise and worship.
So it follows what we believe that whenever we celebrate Mass, they join us in worship of the Lamb, of Jesus, being made truly present in the Eucharist.
The Elder in the first reading describes these saints as the people “who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”
The great distress is likely to be a persecution which is given the most attention in the beatitudes. It is the distress of living in a world where many people don’t realize the love God has for them as His children. Many cannot accept that love and therefore they persecute Christians with insults and false accusations.
Paul, in the second reading, started by saying “Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.”
As children of God, we have a hope that one day we will be united with him for all eternity, that our robes will be washed and made white in the Blood of the Lamb as well.
And so, our second reading also says “Everyone who has this hope based on [Jesus] makes himself pure, as [Jesus] is pure.”
The way we make ourselves pure is by adhering to the beatitudes, by taking them to heart. Jesus gave us the beatitudes to change our hearts, rather than just having the ten commandments which led to a complicated system of laws and rules that were often followed only externally, Jesus wanted us to change interiorly.
Jesus is encouraging us to become Saints by the way we live and the way we love, with the beatitudes as our guide.
Our response should be to take Him seriously. Do we hunger and thirst for righteousness? Do we show others mercy? Do we have a pure and clean heart? Do we strive to make peace?
God created us to live in eternity with Him at the heavenly banquet. We were made to be Saints. Today we celebrate those that have already become Saints, and we ask for their intercession to live the beatitudes and join their ranks.
Until then, we settle for a foretaste of the heavenly banquet, joining with the Angels and the Saints in praise and worship, dining together in the Eucharist.
May God bless us as we come to perfect holiness in the fullness of His love, passing from this pilgrim table to the banquet of our heavenly homeland.