November 1: All Saints. Readings: 1. Apocalypse 7:2-4,9-14; Psalm: 24; 2. 1 John 3:1-3; Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12.
All Saints is a feast of special significance for us. And it is in these particular readings that we hear why that is so.
The apocalyptic text that is our first reading invites us into the heavenly throne room. It is there that God and the Lamb are being worshipped by the angelic host. Participating in this act of praise is a group noted for being dressed in white. They are identified as such because they have faithfully completed their earthly sojourn, and now share in the resurrection won for us by the shedding of the Lord’s blood. They are the saints who are enjoying the glorious eternal peace in God’s great and holy presence.
The verses from 1 John act as a source of much encouragement. They are inviting us to be ready for the final revealing of God. And so, in knowing ourselves loved by God, and identified as children of God, we are especially conscious that our holy God beckons us to become fully like him. Put simply, this is speaking of our call to share in the joy of all the saints.
The Beatitudes in Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount add a further note to today’s biblical reflections for this feast. At their heart lies the thought that God calls us to be blessed in this life, so that we, as children of God, might inherit the promised reward. In connection with this, Jesus’ reference to the kingdom of heaven therefore points to that joy and gladness awaiting all who work for the coming of that kingdom.
In honouring all the saints this Sunday, our Catholic faith looks to the scriptural basis on which that belief is founded. And we willingly join in this Church celebration, because it naturally keeps us focused on future blessings.