Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12
‘How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy the gentle: they shall have the earth for their heritage.
Happy those who mourn: they shall be comforted.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right: they shall be satisfied.
Happy the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure in heart: they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers: they shall be called sons of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven; this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.’
The Gospel of the Lord.
Gospel Reflection: Feast of All Saints Matthew 5:1-12
A lot of people do not like large gatherings. They find big crowds exhausting. Today’s feast, however, is precisely about crowds of people. The first reading expresses it well, ‘a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language’. Today is the feast not just of a few chosen saints, but of all saints. Today we honour all the saints, those who are formally canonised and those who are not.
If our vision of humanity is shaped exclusively by the media we might be tempted to think that there are a lot more villains out there than saints. It is reassuring to be reminded by today’s feast that there exists a huge number of saints, impossible to count. In the words of the letter to the Hebrews, we are surrounded by a ‘great cloud of witnesses’. None of us can live as the Lord wants us to live purely on our own. We need the good example of others to inspire us and to show us what is possible. Today’s feast declares that we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses, if only we could recognise them. Some of these people have already passed beyond us and are now ‘standing in front of the throne of the Lamb’, in the words of today’s first reading. Many of them, however, are our companions on the journey of life. They do not look at all like the statues in our churches. They are very ordinary, yet they are also very special. These are the people we are grateful to have met and to have around.
The feast of All Saints encourages us to believe that any one of us could be part of that huge number, impossible to count. In that sense, today’s feast is about every one of us. John, in today’s second reading, is speaking about all of us when he declares that ‘we are already the children of God’, and that, in the future, ‘we shall be like’ God. We are all destined for sainthood. God intends that all of us would be conformed to the image of God’s Son. For most of us, that will only come to pass fully beyond this life. Yet, because we are already sons and daughters of God through Baptism, we are called to grow now towards that wonderful transformation that awaits us. The road to sainthood begins here, wherever we happen to find ourselves. In today’s gospel reading, Jesus shows us what that road to sainthood looks like. In the Beatitudes, Jesus painted a portrait of himself, the living saint par excellence. He was also painting a portrait of the person that we are all called to become. The Beatitudes give us different facets of the person of Jesus, while at the same time showing us different ways in which we might reflect the person of Jesus.
Gospel and Gosple Reflection are taken from Mass Readings and Sunday Homily - Catholicireland.net.