All Saints – 1st Nov 2019

Theme: ALL SAINTS: THE KNOWN AND UNKNOWN SAINTS; THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN AND THE SAINTS ON EARTH

  • Apocalypse (Revelation) 7:2-4. 9-14;
  • Psalm 23:1-6. R/ cf. v. 6;
  • 1 John 3:1-3
  • Matthew 5:1-12

Today we celebrate ALL SAINTS day! Today we commemorate all the known Saints and unknown saints; and all the saints in heaven and all the saints on earth!

The first reading tells us about the saints in heaven! The first reading tells us that they are all dressed in white with palms in their hands and praising God for their victory and salvation!

Their robes were washed white by the blood of the Lamb! The palms they hold symbolize victory and salvation! And they give praise to God and to the Lamb, because their victory and salvation come from God and from the Lamb! Thus we read in the first reading:

“Dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands. They shouted aloud, ‘Victory to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb! ….They have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb.’” (Rv 7: 9-10. 14; SM)

The gospel today tells us about the saints on earth, that is, you and me who are baptized! St. Paul calls the baptized, “saints”, especially in the letters to the Corinthians! The gospel today tells us about the eight beatitudes! But the most important beatitude is the first beatitude! Thus we read:

“How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:3; SM)

The poor in spirit are the materially poor and the spiritually poor; but most importantly, the poor in spirit are those who are totally dependent on God for their material and spiritual food!

The poor in spirit are therefore those who receive the blessings of God, the grace of God, the Holy Spirit of God! And that is why they can fulfill the other seven beatitudes that follow! That is, being gentle, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted for the cause of right, etc.!

The second reading also tells us about the saints on earth, that is, the baptized, that is, you and me! The second reading tells us that we are already the children of God, but what we will become has not yet been revealed. All we know is that when it is revealed we will be like him, that is, God or Jesus Christ, because we will see him as he really is!

We are already the children of God, that is, we are already baptized and as children of God we are totally dependent on God for our salvation! We will be like him because we will see him as he really is, that is, we will be like God, Jesus Christ and the saints, because we will be in heaven! Thus we read:

“My dear people, we are already the children of God but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed; all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is.” (1 Jn 3:2; SM)

Today we thank God for all the saints! More importantly, we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ who washed away our sins with his blood and changed us sinners into saints!

We ask God to continue to bless us, grace us, give us the Holy Spirit; and continue to wash away our sins with the blood of Lamb, especially in the Eucharist every Sunday, so that one day we too will become saints in heaven, even canonized Saints in heaven!

 

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 15th October 2017

Theme: THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

  • Isaiah 25:6-10
  • Psalm 22 (23). R. v. 6
  • Matthew 22:1-10 (Shorter Form) 

Today is the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, or 28th Sunday of the Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us about the “kingdom of heaven”!

The gospel tells us that the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding. He sent out his servants to call the invited guests to the wedding, but they would not come. He sent out more servants to call the invited guests, but still they would not come! Instead, one went to his farm, another went to do his business, and the rest seized his servants, ill-treated them and killed them. The king was angry and he destroyed the murderers and burned their town.

Then the king said to his servants, ‘the wedding is ready, and since the invited guests are not worthy, go to the crossroads and invite everybody’! The servants went to the roads and invited everybody, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was full of guests!

The allegory of this parable is clear. The king is God the Father, his son is Jesus Christ. The servants are the prophets. The invited guests who did not come for the wedding are the Jews. The “uninvited guests” who were invited later and came for the wedding are the Gentiles and the sinners, and the tax collectors and prostitutes!

But more importantly, the first reading from Isaiah tells us what the king (NJBC) does in the kingdom of heaven! The first reading tells us that “on this mountain”, that is, on Mount Zion, a symbol of the heavenly Jerusalem (CSB), that is, in the kingdom of heaven, the king will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food and fine wine, rich and juicy food and fine strained wines! The king will remove the mourning veil and the mourning shroud from his people. He will destroy death forever! He will wipe away every tear. He will remove the shame from his people. He will save his people!

The responsorial psalm tells us that in the kingdom of heaven, the shepherd-king (the kings of Israel are shepherd-kings, NJBC) will lead his people and provide his people with food and drink! Thus we sang and prayed in the responsorial psalm:

Stanza 1: ‘The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose. Near restful waters he leads me to revive my drooping spirit’!

Stanza 2: ‘He guides me in the right path. He is true to his name. If I should walk in the valley of darkness and death, no evil would I fear. You are there with your crook and your staff; with these you give me comfort’!

Stanza 3: ‘You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my enemies. (So that my enemies will see that I am a friend and guest of God). You have anointed my head with oil (perfumed olive oil of welcome and hospitality) and my cup is overflowing (with wine)’!

Stanza 4: ‘Surely goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life. In the Lord’s own house will I dwell forever and ever’! (This last verse of the responsorial psalm is the response of the responsorial psalm)!

Today the “kingdom of heaven” is the Church, not the building, but the people of God! And the banquet of rich food and fine wines is the Eucharist! In the Eucharist we eat the body of Christ, and we drink the blood of Christ! And our Risen Lord in the power of His Holy Spirit will remove our mourning veils and mourning palls. He will destroy our deaths forever! He will wipe away our tears. He will remove our shame! He will save us!

He is doing it right here and now and he will continue to do it every Sunday until the end of time when we will eat and drink of the eternal and eschatological banquet in heaven! This is the Good News!  Amen!