Nov. 1, Solemnity of All Saints
Cycle B. Readings:
1) Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14
2) 1 John 3:1-3
Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12a
By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service
In June, I had the privilege of hearing a talk by a nun who will probably be one of the saints that future generations will honor.
Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe spoke of her work with women brutalized by the Lord’s Resistance Army and other violent groups in Uganda and South Sudan. She and her sisters have provided a pathway for more than 2,500 of these women and their children to rebuild their lives.
It has been redemptive, as the sisters have helped these women, often rejected and blamed for what happened to them when they returned to their villages, to regain their dignity through work, faith and forgiveness.
On this solemnity of All Saints, we honor all the saints the church has recognized. In the reading from Revelation, John, in a vision, stands “before the throne [of God] and before the Lamb.” There he sees a crowd so large that he cannot count its members, coming from every tribe and nation, washed clean by the blood of Jesus. They have prostrated themselves before God and are worshiping him.
In the second reading from 1 John, John writes, “Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.”
That one statement reveals the power that enables some of us to rise to the level of heroic self-sacrifice on behalf of God for others — sainthood. That one statement gives the impetus to all of us to seek to rise to that level in our love of our families, our neighbors and the stranger.
In the Gospel reading, Jesus gives definition to what it means to be a child of God, with an extensive listing of the “blesseds,” among them, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
Sister Rosemary stands as one example, along with a multitude of others, who have gone before and been recognized as saints. May we seek to be among the blessed as well and find ourselves, washed in the blood of the Lamb, before the throne of God, among the worshippers.
How is God calling you to enter more deeply into the spirit of the beatitudes?