Gospel Reflections

Feast of All Saints

Matthew 5:1-12a

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Victorine Mansanga

Published: November 01, 2014

The Gospel for this Sunday, the Feast of All Saints, begins as follows: "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."

This introduction to the Gospel describes an important element of the message for this day: the characteristic traits of Jesus, such as his glance of love on the crowd which is following him, his attention and compassion for individuals, his concern in taking care of the hunger and thirst of those who surround him and his great joy in announcing the "good news."

Proclaimimg the good news today is centered on the word "Blessed." With this adjective, Jesus invites men and women to happiness and shows strategies for attaining it here on earth and in eternity. This happiness consists in being poor in heart, lovable, pure, humble, compassionate, just and a peace-maker. Jesus concludes by inviting people to rejoice because of the great recompense which is reserved in heaven for those who have followed the way indicated by the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes inform us about the identity of God and trace for us a new way for attaining holiness and entering the Kingdom. Jesus presents this active life program as a map of our earthly journey towards God, which marks with a seal the children of God and leads them to the Kingdom. It gives consolation in the middle of our sufferings. At the same time, it is an invitation to ground our lives on the characteristic traits of Jesus, such as love and compassion.

The Beatitudes are always about real life. They are addressed to each and every one of us today and invite us to action. Jesus presents them to us as a call to follow him and imitate him who is the Prince of Peace, Love, just judge, humble and merciful. He makes us see how to help others and makes us feel happy in spite of daily sufferings. In manifesting his compassion, Jesus does not remain passive. His love is active! He promises consolation to those who cry, he gives back life by his actions. He nourishes the hungry, he cures the sick, he raises the dead.

In contrast, we live in a world full of cruelty and misery. Violence is everywhere. Today’s media tell us about wars, acts of violence, crimes. There are many strong tensions among nations, races, religions and between brothers and sisters. The manner of acting in our governments, among our leaders and certain people around us engenders conflicts and misunderstandings. In speaking about non-violence, Jesus asks us to turn the other cheek to the one who strikes us. However the reality of our day is different. We do not know how to treat people who are different with sweetness. We opt more for vengeance and brutality which do not prevent the destruction of human lives. People ask themselves where is God in all these situations. Those who suffer or are mourning search for his consolation. Those who live in war-torn countries ask why God permits these deaths. Why doesn't God stop these wars? Where then is the mercy of God? While living in difficult life circumstances, we have a tendency to believe that God is far away. God does not have any compassion on our miseries. However, God is always by our side. Nevertheless, God does need each one of us to act. If we walk the way of the Beatitudes, God will not appear any more far away from those who look for him.

We can reflect on the following questions to deepen our reflection:

  • What is my attitude in facing violence and injustice where others are the victims?
  • What is my reaction in confronting the unforeseen or incomprehensible actions which happen in the social arena?
  • How do I defend myself when I am searching to be right?

The public response is that we have a tendency to depart from the way of the Beatitudes for earthly things such as power, riches, honor, prestige. Like Jesus, let us take take as our own the misery of those living in poverty, of those who cry or who suffer. Let us be the peace-makers and the builders of LOVE. Let us live in the light of the Beatitudes in order to become saints in the image and likeness of those whom we celebrate today.

The Beatitudes are addressed to us but we are not the first ones to live them. The proof of it is that the Church gives us today the opportunity to feast those who have walked before us on this road. These are our ancestors in the faith, members of our families and friends who are today the great multitude that no one can count. These are the Saints!

The Feast of All Saints allows us to contemplate the wonders or marvels of God. The feast is also a reminder for all of us who have received the seal of the children of God through Baptism to find again the way to holiness. It invites us to be holy as God is and as the immense crowd of saints whom we honor today. Let us put on again our robe of holiness in order to rejoin one day the Communion of Saints.


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