NOV. 1 ALL SAINTS’ DAY GOSPEL COMMENTARY:
Gospel of November 1: Solemnity of All Saints
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. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Today the Church commemorates all those persons who lived in friendship with God on their earthly journey and entered through it into his glory. Some saints are raised to the altars as models of virtue and love for God. But many others left an imprint of sanctity day after day that perhaps passed unnoticed to human eyes, but that never escaped the attentive and loving eyes of God.
As Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz, Prelate of Opus Dei, said: “All Saints Day is the feast of that quiet and simple sanctity—sanctity without any human splendor—which seems to leave no trace in history, but shines forth before God. It leaves behind in the world a sowing of Love from which nothing is lost.”
For the Gospel of today’s Mass, the liturgy chose the passage of the Beatitudes according to Saint Matthew. Thus it underlines the fact that these are the equivalent of sanctity, both of the sanctity that makes some people famous, so to speak, and the sanctity that is only fully revealed in heaven.
- The Gospels present two versions of Jesus’ discourse on the beatitudes: that of Luke, with its four beatitudes and four “woes” mirroring them, and that of Matthew, which includes nine beatitudes. Matthew shows us Jesus teaching the people while they are seated on the slopes of a mountain, thus recalling Moses who delivered the tablets of the Law to the Israelites after being with God on Mount Sinai. Jesus teaches the people with authority on the mountain, in order to bring the first law to its fulness and invite all men and women to be perfect as their heavenly Father is perfect (cf. Mt 5:48).
- Each of the beatitudes, with its disconcerting language, has given rise to numerous commentaries throughout the Church’s history. The Catechism of the Catholic Church sums these up by saying that, above all, the beatitudes “depict the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray his charity.” Jesus is the principal blessed and happy One, because he lived on this earth in loving union with the Father, which is the greatest happiness, above any tribulation.
- Thus the beatitudes are a compendium of sanctity and a call to it. “They shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristic of the Christian life; they are the paradoxical promises that sustain hope in the midst of tribulations; they proclaim the blessings and rewards already secured, however dimly, for Christ’s disciples; they have begun in the lives of the Virgin Mary and all the saints.”
- Jesus invites us, Pope Francis says, “to set out on the way of the Beatitudes. It is not a matter of doing extraordinary things, but of following each day this way that leads us to heaven, leads us to our family, leads us home. Thus today we glimpse our future and we celebrate what we were born for: we were born so as to die no more; we were born to enjoy God’s happiness! The Lord encourages us and says to those setting out on the path of the Beatitudes: ‘Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven’ (Mt 5:12). May the Holy Mother of God, Queen of Saints, help us to decisively follow the road to holiness. May she who is the Gate of Heaven introduce our departed loved ones into the heavenly family.”
EMPHASIS AND FORMATTING MINE.
FROM POPE FRANCIS
- The revolutionary power of the Beatitudes
It is always a joyful experience for us to read and reflect on the Beatitudes! Jesus proclaimed them in his first great sermon, preached on the shore of the sea of Galilee. There was a very large crowd, so Jesus went up on the mountain to teach his disciples. That is why it is known as “the Sermon on the Mount”. In the Bible, the mountain is regarded as a place where God reveals himself. Jesus, by preaching on the mount, reveals himself to be a divine teacher, a new Moses. What does he tell us? He shows us the way to life, the way that he himself has taken. Jesus himself is the way, and he proposes this way as the path to true happiness. Throughout his life, from his birth in the stable in Bethlehem until his death on the cross and his resurrection, Jesus embodied the Beatitudes. All the promises of God’s Kingdom were fulfilled in him.
In proclaiming the Beatitudes, Jesus asks us to follow him and to travel with him along the path of love, the path that alone leads to eternal life. It is not an easy journey, yet the Lord promises us his grace and he never abandons us. We face so many challenges in life: poverty, distress, humiliation, the struggle for justice, persecutions, the difficulty of daily conversion, the effort to remain faithful to our call to holiness, and many others. But if we open the door to Jesus and allow him to be part of our lives, if we share our joys and sorrows with him, then we will experience the peace and joy that only God, who is infinite love, can give.
The Beatitudes of Jesus are new and revolutionary. They present a model of happiness contrary to what is usually communicated by the media and by the prevailing wisdom. A worldly way of thinking finds it scandalous that God became one of us and died on a cross! According to the logic of this world, those whom Jesus proclaimed blessed are regarded as useless, “losers”. What is glorified is success at any cost, affluence, the arrogance of power and self-affirmation at the expense of others.
Jesus challenges us, young friends, to take seriously his approach to life and to decide which path is right for us and leads to true joy. This is the great challenge of faith. Jesus was not afraid to ask his disciples if they truly wanted to follow him or if they preferred to take another path (cf. Jn 6:67). Simon Peter had the courage to reply: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68). If you too are able to say “yes” to Jesus, your lives will become both meaningful and fruitful.
- The courage to be happy
What does it mean to be “blessed” (makarioi in Greek)? To be blessed means to be happy. Tell me: Do you really want to be happy? In an age when we are constantly being enticed by vain and empty illusions of happiness, we risk settling for less and “thinking small” when it comes to the meaning of life. Think big instead! Open your hearts! As Blessed Piergiorgio Frassati once said, “To live without faith, to have no heritage to uphold, to fail to struggle constantly to defend the truth: this is not living. It is scraping by. We should never just scrape by, but really live” (Letter to I. Bonini, 27 February 1925). In his homily on the day of Piergiorgio Frassati’s beatification (20 May 1990), John Paul II called him “a man of the Beatitudes” (AAS 82 , 1518).
If you are really open to the deepest aspirations of your hearts, you will realize that you possess an unquenchable thirst for happiness, and this will allow you to expose and reject the “low cost” offers and approaches all around you. When we look only for success, pleasure and possessions, and we turn these into idols, we may well have moments of exhilaration, an illusory sense of satisfaction, but ultimately we become enslaved, never satisfied, always looking for more. It is a tragic thing to see a young person who “has everything”, but is weary and weak.
Saint John, writing to young people, told them: “You are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one” (1 Jn 2:14). Young people who choose Christ are strong: they are fed by his word and they do not need to ‘stuff themselves’ with other things! Have the courage to swim against the tide. Have the courage to be truly happy! Say no to an ephemeral, superficial and throwaway culture, a culture that assumes that you are incapable of taking on responsibility and facing the great challenges of life!
VIDEO COMMENTARY ON TODAY’S GOSPEL
TOPIC: Do you know anyone around you who can be considered a saint?
Today, in many parts of the world, All Saints Day is celebrated. Our call to holiness prods us to live lives that will help others to sainthood. Today’s gospel of the eight beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) is our charter for holiness.
Stay updated: subscribe by email for free TO OUR NEW WEBSITE www.catholicsstrivingforholiness.org (PUT YOUR EMAIL IN THE SUBSCRIBE WIDGET).
We are also in www.fb.com/Catholicsstrivingforholiness. Kindly help more people in their Christian life by liking our page and inviting your family, friends and relatives to do so as well. Thanks in advance and God bless you and your loved ones! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo