View all Gospel Reflections |
Jesus Is Beatitude
Solemnity of All Saints
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.”
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord, I come before you today with the desire to grow in faith, hope, and love, which are at the very heart of my relationship with you. I desire the holiness to which you have called me, and which the saints, whom we celebrate today, have shown me is possible. Open my mind and heart so that I may receive the lights and graces you wish to share with me in this our time together.
- Jesus Our Model: The beatitudes speak principally of Jesus himself. He is our model, the norm of the new law (see Catechism #459). In him we see a “poverty” that, although rich, emptied himself for our sake (see Philippians 2:7). Who is meek if not Jesus who said, “learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:29)? He is merciful like no other, seeking out the lost sheep, which is humanity gone astray (see Matthew 18:12-14). As Christians, we follow the person of Jesus Christ. Dogmas are an effort to understand him; norms are an effort to follow him. As Our Lord’s self-portrait, the beatitudes become the Christian’s Magna Carta. They do not replace the Ten Commandments; they go beyond them. The former insists that we do not offend love; the latter insists we love as Jesus did.
- The Saints Have Followed: Our Lord’s invitation to imitate him is daunting. However, Jesus has made it possible through the gift of the Holy Spirit, which we receive in baptism (see Catechism #1227). Then as children of God, we are able to cry out “Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4:6). All the saints, whom we celebrate today, have preceded us and shown us that sanctity is within our reach. Sanctity is simply allowing the grace God has planted in us through baptism to grow and develop. No situation or circumstance can prevent God’s grace from working powerfully in a docile soul. The saints, men and women from all ages and all walks of life, have modeled the way. Their example and their intercession are powerful aids on our own journey. We know we can make it to heaven because they have. They fortify in us the theological virtue of hope.
- An Invitation to Joy: In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’s invitation to blessedness is an invitation to joy. However, Jesus’s joy sets the world’s joy on its head. We want to avoid discomfort and pain at all costs. Jesus says, “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you… Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” However, the promise of heaven amidst suffering is not merely a promise of future joy, but of a joy already begun even while suffering. This joy amidst suffering was the “insanity” that only the saints understood. St. John Paull II said, “To know that God is not far but close… is reason for profound joy that different daily events cannot affect… An unmistakable characteristic of Christian joy is that it can coexist with suffering, because it is totally based on love.” The saint knows he or she is secure in God’s love amidst suffering. This experience of God’s love then moves the saint to give everything back to Christ and, in that self-sacrificing gift, to find deep joy.
Conversing with Christ: Dear Lord Jesus, you offer me your joy by concretely showing me how I should imitate your virtues, such as meekness, purity, and mercy. In addition to your grace, you have given me my older brothers and sisters in the faith who are living icons of you. They inspire me with their lives and sustain me with their prayers. May my increased devotion to them augment my devotion to you. Let me embrace the joy of the cross and console your Sacred Heart.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will read at least one brief article about the life of a saint. Then I will say a simple prayer to that saint asking for his or her intercession for my family and me.
Written by Fr. John Bullock, LC.