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This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints. Since this Feast falls on a Sunday this year it supersedes what would have been the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time. This Feast celebrates all those holy women and men who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith. While we know the names of many of these saints, those who are unnamed far outnumber those who are named. This takes nothing away from the sanctity of their lives. Rather it reminds us of the life of holiness to which we are all called and the eternal life that awaits those who respond to that call.
Our Gospel for this Feast is the Beatitudes from St. Matthew’s Gospel. Each Beatitude begins with the familiar words: “Blessed are.” These words remind us that we are blessed when we strive to live the Beatitudes as Jesus lived them and conform our attitudes and conduct to his will.
Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of Revelation. This book is written in the style of Apocalyptic literature. It uses vivid images and symbols, as well as intense language to convey its message. It is not meant to be taken literally. Instead, Apocalyptic writing was intended for people who were experiencing some difficulties or trials. It was meant to comfort, console and encourage those who were undergoing these trials or tribulations.
Our second reading this Sunday is from the first Letter of Saint John. John reminds us that even now we are children of God. “Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called children of God. Yet so we are.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Which of the Beatitudes speaks most directly to you at this time in your life?
- Apocalyptic literature is not meant to be taken literally, and yet many people do take it that way. Why do you suppose that is?
- What do you think St. John meant when he described us as “children of God?”