1st Reading: Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14

Vast numbers were sealed with the sign of the Living God

I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God, and he called  with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to damage earth and sea, saying, " Do not damage the earth or the  sea or the tree, until we have marked the servants of our God with a seal on their foreheads." And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the people of Israel.
After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!"And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, singing, " Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom  and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever, and ever, Amen." Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, " who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?" I said to him, " Sir you are the one that knows." Then he said to me , " These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

2nd Reading: 1John 3:1-3

The love the Father has given us,  that we should be called children of God.
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what 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 will be has not yet been revealed. What we do not know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

 Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12

The Beatitudes as guide to the Kingdom of Heaven

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them saying:
" Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. " Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. " Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. " Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. " Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. " Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for  in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.



There is a little story of a chronic gambler who said: " I would do anything, even the devils work, to see the lotto winning numbers ahead of the draw. I would become the richest man in the world." Well he got his wish. A messenger came to his door and handed him a news paper dated one week ahead. Excited, the man turned to the page where the winning numbers were listed. There before his eyes were all the numbers that would entitle him to win millions of dollars.
He was beside himself imagining what he would do with all the huge amount of money. But as he turned the pages his heart skipped a beat. For there he saw his name printed in big, bold print- in the obituary! On the day he wins, he will also die.

This story teaches us that in spite of all the joys, pleasures, and yes, millions we may acquire- legally or otherwise- death hangs over our head like the proverbial sword of Damocles. The meditation question in this story is that, are we prepared for that inevitable end?
Today is November 1 and we remember our departed loved ones. But let us ask ourselves, " What will happen to me when I die? What is it like on the other side?"

In the book , Saints Alive, says that if we are going to make a list of all saints and Blesseds we would probably note that:
1. A very large percentage of the formally beatified and canonized saints belonged to religious orders.
2. A very large number have been bishops.
3. There have been more men than women.
4. Lay saints among the non- martyrs have been relatively few.

Some explanation can be offered for these percentages are the following:
1. Religious orders interested in promoting the canonization of their own communities the means and natural agency to broadcast knowledge of their holy ones and stimulate devotion to them; and canonization requires an organized campaign.
2. Bishops are leaders and as such are usually better known that even their holiest priests
3. Women saints are normally nuns, honored, of course within convent walls, but not widely known outside them. Publicizing their virtues is thus a preliminary necessity( Witness St. Therese of Lisieux, for example.) But men are more likely to have faced the public and won recognition by public good deeds.
4.Lay saints have been less frequently beatified or canonized simply because, unless they are martyrs, they are less known than nuns, than men, than bishops, than members of religious orders.
That is why, today's celebration is focused on all the saints of Heaven, but especially on those we could call the little people of Heaven: those obscure, un -canonized, un- beatified, uncelebrated and anonymous saint whose names are not found in the liturgical calendar of the Church. These saints could be your deceased, grandparents, parents, husbands, and wives, uncles and aunts, your teachers and other professionals, friends, children, brothers and sisters, nephews, nieces, cousins and so on and so forth. They did nothing extraordinary but they knew how to love and be good.

The beatitudes

Today's gospel is about the Beatitudes. The word beatitude is coming from the Latin word beati meaning  the happy ones' or ' the one being blessed.' These Beatitudes are ways by which we become channels of good news of Christ to other people. These are the ideals by which the saints approximated their closeness to God's expectations. In our world today, each country has got constitutions to rely on. You will hear people saying that " we want changes, we want to amend our constitution to live a good life....etc". In our today's gospel the eight beatitudes outline the virtues, the Constitution of the Kingdom of God that makes us true Disciples of Christ. These beatitudes are in opposite with the values promoted by the world as follows.

The world around us says,' Blessed are the rich, because they can have anything they want.' But Jesus says, ' Blessed are the poor in spirit.' By ' poor in spirit' he means those who put their trust in God rather than money; and those who admit that it is not their income, possessions or bank account that makes them rich in the eyes of God, but what kind of people they are.

The world says,'Blessed are the assertive and aggressive that talk tough and act tough.' But Jesus says, ' Blessed are the gentle.' Gentleness is not weakness, but a form of strength. St. Francis de sales used to say that you can catch more flies with a spoon full of sugar than a barrel full of vinegar. In Jesus 'book there's just no place for bullies and bullying.

The world says, ' Blessed are those who show no mercy and who take  no prisoners.' But Jesus says,' Blessed are the merciful,' Happy are those who make allowances for the faults and sins of others, and whose greatness lies in their ability to forgive. They will receive mercy and forgiveness from God for their own sins.

The world says, ' Blessed are those who get even and exact revenge.' But Jesus says, ' Blessed are those who make a stand for what is right and true.' They may suffer for their stand, but the wounds they bear will be marks of honor and integrity. Jesus practiced what he preached. In his own person he was the beatitude. Peace is really founded on love, justice and truth. When one of these human values is violated peace is not attained.
In the eight beatitude we are told from the gospel that blessed are those who suffer. In this perspective, a suffering born of love and commitment is a suffering which is truly united with the suffering of the crucified Christ.

Saint hood starts now

The celebration of the Solemnity of All saints is not only a celebration of those saints declared and not declared but also for all of us who are and must be in the process of becoming saints. That's why to be a true disciple or to be a saint is summed in the beatitudes. These beatitudes are not impossible to follow because the saints have shown us how. One saint said a long time ago: " If they can do it, why can't I?"

When we celebrate the feast of all saints we are not celebrating those who have died. This way of thinking causes us to believe that sanctity can only happen after a person has died. No, we are celebrating all who have experienced the gospel message and know that God dwells with them now. Strictly speaking, death is not the criterion required for sanctity. Neither is perfection. Often, in fact, the road to wholeness/ holiness is through imperfection.
Sanctity is not something we achieve. It is something with which we participate. It is much too big, as is sin and death, for us to experience alone. As we participate in sin and death, so too can we participate in holiness and life. We each have within us at this moment the power of God. The only thing that prevents us from living the power of God is that many of us are not aware that we have it. We are all children of God, not later when we die, but now this moment.

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Chapisha Maoni