Scripture: 1st Reading: Rev7,2-4,9-14; Resp. Psalm: Ps24,1-6; 2nd Reading: 1Jn3,1-3; Gosp. Accl.: Mt11,28; Gospel: Mt5,1-12
Victory belongs to our God. All power, honour, majesty, adoration, praise, thanksgiving belong to Him, the Living God who sits upon the throne.
The vision recounted in Revelation is a vision of the end of time. It is a vision that recalls the last things, the last events before the coming of the Son of man in glory. His coming in glory will be to judge, to apportion praise and reward on the one hand, and to allot blame, condemnation and punishment on the other.
The angels, His ministering spirits, would do the separation of the good from the bad. The vision today recounts that inevitable event. The angels of death would do no harm to the righteous and the blessed. These are those who have gone through the great tribulations and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb. In other words, they are believers who lived the Christian life in a radical way, who knew Jesus as everything to them in their lives, who died with the name of Jesus on their lips.
These believers held palm branches in their hands, the sign of their victory, the sign that they had fought the good fight of testifying to Christ and living out the implications of their faith to a heroic degree. These victorious believers are "a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb."
These are the Saints who did the bidding of God all through their lives, who were friends of God while here on earth, and who death could not separate from God, the lover of their souls and the object of their desires. Their journey with the Lord started at their baptism, when they were washed clean of original sin, made children of God and members of the church.
They heard the word, paid earnest attention to it, lived ordinary life in an extraordinary way, sought ways to please God, loved Him with all their hearts, loved their neighbours with intensity, carried out their Christian lives with great courage and lived Christ in totality of their existence. These holy men and women, youths and children paid the supreme price for discipleship, as many of them shed their blood for Christ.
That is also our vocation. We are called to holiness of life. Our vocation is to become Saints. Our call right from our baptism is to the deepest union with our God. Our Lord gave us how to become Saints in the beatitudes as recorded in Mathew's Gospel, the gospel of today's solemnity. To get to heaven, we must be poor in spirit, that is, we must consider everything about worldly pride and self exultation to be of no consequence in our lives. We must put on the mind and heart of Jesus.
To get to heaven, we will have difficulties and trials and afflictions that will give sadness. Our discipleship will be put to test. We will encounter oppositions but we must not be discouraged because we shall be comforted. Our Lord also recommended that we become meek, gentle as a lamb so that we could inherit the earth. We are to hunger and thirst for righteousness, so that we could become satisfied; to be merciful, in order to obtain mercy, to become pure in heart, so as to see God.
We are to seek and strive for peace in all circumstances of our lives so that we could be called children of God. Our Lord also taught us that to attainment the blessedness He wills for us, we must endure with Christian patience and courage whatever sufferings and persecutions that may come our way in our response to our vocation to bear witness to Him. When we do this, the kingdom of heaven is ours.
We are privileged. We are lucky. The means has been given to us to reach a safe end. We are called the children of God, co-heirs with Christ. The word today assures us that when we live our Christian lives to the fullest, we shall be like Him when He appears, and we shall see Him as He is. This solemnity recalls us back to our vocations to holiness of life. It reminds us that we can be Saints because those who attained it before us had their feet firmly planted on the earth.
We are challenged today to think of the ways we live our lives, the good deeds we do that promote and advance us on the path of righteousness, the sins we commit that detract and delays our march to spiritual greatness. We are called to consider our ways, let the word accuse and convict us and live by its dictates. We are called to imitate the virtues of the Saint whose name we bear, who in his/her life reflected the life of our Lord in total perfection. We are called to make heaven the goal of our existence.
Today is also the beginning of the new month of November, the penultimate in this year. I pray that God will go with us this month, bless us in unquantifiable measures, increase our faith, rekindle out hope, bless our love for Him. May it be for us indeed a month of great encounter with Him. May this month bring us news of joy and the perfection of our heart's desires. Amen. Happy New Month.
Let us pray: "Almighty ever-living God, by whose gift we celebrate in one celebration the merits of all the Saints, bestow on us, we pray, through the prayers of so many intercessors, an abundance of the reconciliation with you for which we earnestly long." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.