Solemnity of All Saints
November 1

First Reading (Revelation 7: 2-4. 9-14)

I, John, saw another angel come up from the East, holding the seal of the living God. He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were given power to damage the land and the sea, “Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand marked from every tribe of the children of Israel. After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.” All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They prostrated themselves before the throne, worshiped God, and exclaimed: “Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” 
Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me, “Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.” He said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”

Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 24: 1-6)

Refrain: Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

1) The Lord's are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. (Refrain)

2) Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? or who may stand in his holy place?
One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain. (Refrain)

3) He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob. (Refrain)

Second Reading (1 John 3: 1-3)

Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.

Gospel (Matthew 5: 1-12)

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.”

Copyright 1970, 1986, 1992, 1998, 2001 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc. Washington D.C. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

The English translation of some Psalm responses, some Alleluia and Gospel verses and the Lenten Gospel Acclamations, some Summaries, and the Titles and Conclusion of the Readings, from the Lectionary for Mass copyright 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc., Washington D.C. All rights reserved.

The poetic English translation of the sequences of the Roman Missal are taken from the Roman Missal approved by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States, copyright 1964 by the National Catholic Welfare Conference, Inc. All rights reserved.

Used with permission of ICEL.]

Homiletic Ideas:

Let us look more closely at each of the beatitudes. First of all, there are the "poor in spirit". In Hebrew, the word poor was used to describe the humble and the helpless who have put their whole trust in God. So throughout the Bible when we hear reference to the fact that God hears the cry of the poor, it means that God hears the cry of those who trust totally in him. If we trust totally in God, then we will become detached from material things because we realize that they cannot bring us true happiness. That is why the "saint loves people and uses things": because the saint know where true happiness can be found.

Homily

Ordinary People

As we celebrate the Feast of All Saints, there are a couple of questions that we could ask ourselves, like who were these people and how did they get to be saints? First of all, we have to realize that they were ordinary people, just like you and me. But there was something different about them. You could probably sum up that difference by saying that "Saints are ordinary people who did extraordinary things". But what were these extraordinary things and why did they do them? The extraordinary things that they did, more than likely, were things done in imitation of the beatitudes, things which go against normal, human values and which emulate the Christian values that our Lord taught us in the beatitudes. And why did they do these extraordinary things? Even if they didn't realize it, it was probably because they were motivated by the beatitudes too. Let me explain.

In studying the beatitudes, we need to realize that in the Aramaic language which our Lord spoke, there is no verb "to be". All of these beatitudes are not in fact statements ("blessed are the poor in spirit") but exclamations ("O the blessedness of the poor in spirit!"). The implications of this difference is that "the blessedness which belongs to the Christian is not a blessedness which is postponed to some future world of glory; it is a blessedness which exists here and now. It is not something into which the Christian will enter; it is something into which they have already entered....The beatitudes in effect say, 'O the bliss of being a Christian! O the joy of following Christ! O the sheer happiness of knowing Jesus Christ as Master, Saviour and Lord!'" (1)

So, in essence, when we act according to Christian values, the values spoken of in the beatitudes, these actions bring their own reward: an interior peace which no one can take from us. For example, if we are angry with someone over something that they have done to us, that anger consumes us and may turn us into someone whom we hardly know. But if we forgive that person and let go of that anger, then we can truly become "ourselves" again and find that interior peace once more.

Using this translation, the first beatitude would be "O the blessedness of the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven". It has been said that "a saint loves people and uses things, whereas a sinner loves things and uses people". I think that this can be well exemplified in the following story.

In doing what he did so unselfishly, Joey put people above things; he put the life of his friend's mother above a valuable postcard. Material values would dictate that we cherish things for the security that they can give us. But I'm sure that this boy lived with himself more peacefully because of his act of kindness. He was truly "poor in spirit" because he put people above things. He was an ordinary person who did an extraordinary thing.

I'm sure that if Joey had not done what he did, he probably would not have been able to live with himself. He probably would not have been at peace with himself knowing that he could have done something to help his friend's mother but didn't. Sometimes there are things that eat away at us for a long time, perhaps over many years, until we find that we just can't stand it any longer and we have to reach out and seek reconciliation. As we prepare to celebrate Veteran's Day next week, I thought that the following story which I came across on the internet was both moving and appropriate.

Probably some fifty years or more had passed since that fateful day in 1941 and this Japanese pilot finally realized that he could no longer live with his past. So he went to the Memorial to seek reconciliation with those whom he had killed and to seek inner peace. "O the blessedness of the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God". And this nameless American veteran who had witnessed his act had extended to him his own olive branch of peace and forgiveness. "O the blessedness of those who show mercy, for mercy shall be theirs". Both of these men were ordinary people who did extraordinary things. Both of these men had exemplified virtues which are extolled in the beatitudes. As we continue to live out our own daily lives, we need to see how we can better follow the guidance of the beatitudes in this life so that we too can become saints of God in the next.

References

1. From The Supreme Blessedness by William Barclay. Copyright 1976 by Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY. Used with permission.

2. "Get Well Card," from People Magazine, May 4, 1998, p.149. As quoted in What's Wrong With Laughing? From Dynamic Preaching for November 1, 1998. Seven Worlds Corporation, Knoxville, TN. Used with permission.

3. A true life experience of Peter Baldwin Panagore, edited by Sil Galvan. Comments may be sent to Peter at pb.panagore@aya.yale.edu .

(Copyright 2015 by the Spirit through Deacon Sil Galvan, with a little help from the friends noted above. Permission is freely granted for oral use in whole or in part. For permission to reprint in any written form, please contact the human intermediary.)

Solemnity of All Saints

November 1

Penitential Rite

Lord Jesus, you are the Lamb of God who reigns in glory at the right hand of the Father. Lord, have mercy.

Christ Jesus, you are the Lamb of God who intercedes for us with the Father. Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you are the Lamb of God in whose blood the saints were washed clean. Lord, have mercy.

Solemnity of All Saints

November 1

Prayers of the Faithful

Celebrant: Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died so that we might become children of God. Therefore, confident in our faith that he will intercede for us, we bring our prayers and petitions to the Father.

Deacon/Lector: Our response is "Lord, hear our prayer".

That the leaders of the Church may guide us to eternal life by their example of faith, we pray to the Lord.

That the people of the nations of the world will come to live in peace, we pray to the Lord.

That the members of our parish may always respond to the message of the Beatitudes with faith, hope and love, we pray to the Lord.

That the company of the saints may welcome all of our faithful departed into their heavenly home, we pray to the Lord.

That all of our brothers and sisters will be treated as our equals in the site of God regardless of their race, color, nationality or religion, we pray to the Lord.

That all of those who have contracted the Corona virus will be healed, that those who have died will be welcomed into the loving arms of their Savior who suffered for them and that their grieving families will find strength in their faith, we pray to the Lord.

For all of the intentions which we hold in our hearts and which we now recall in silence. (Pause.) For all of these intentions, we pray to the Lord.

Celebrant: Merciful Father, your Son has taught us that we can become saints through the Beatitudes. Grant us the grace of your Spirit to make them a part of our lives in this world so that one day we might be counted among the blessed of your kingdom. We ask this through Christ, our Lord.