Wednesday, October 31, 2018
November 1, 2018 – THURSDAY, All Saints
November 1, 2018 – THURSDAY, All Saints
Rev 7: 2- 4, 9 -14 / 1 Jn 1:1 - 3 / Mt 5: 1- 12a
Originating from the 4th century Eastern Feast of All Martyrs, Pope Gregory IV established this Feast of All Saints in the Roman Church in 835.. Originally celebrated on Easter Friday, it was moved to 13 May and, in the ninth century, to 01 November where it countered the Celtic pagan feast of the Druids.
FROM THE GOSPEL READING: Mt 5: 1 - 12a
Jesus said, "Fortunate are those who have the spirit of the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.. Fortunate are those who mourn, they shall be comforted. Fortunate are the gentle, they shall possess the land. Fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied
"Fortunate are the merciful, for they shall find mercy. Fortunate are those with a pure heart, for they shall see God. Fortunate are those who work for peace, they shall be called children of God"
Jesus on the cross lived out for us what the theologian Bernard Lonergan called the "Law of the Cross," the template of God's solution to the problem of evil. Evil is not overcome by further evil ("A tooth for a tooth") but by returning good for evil ("Turn the other cheek"). (Mt 5: 38 - 39)
Through such self-sacrificing love that places its complete trust in God, God draws even greater good from the evil. Thus, the self-sacrificing love of Jesus on the cross brought about his glorious resurrection, the Church, the salvation of mankind and the restoration of all things to God in Christ..
Today's Gospel, the "Beatitudes," spells out for us this pattern of salvation in our daily lives.
What is striking about the Beatitudes is that the statements are made, and are addressed to each one of us, in the context of this existing world we live in, a world that remains afflicted by evil. It is a field of wheat commingled with tares; it is a net filled with good fish and bad. Man's salvation, sealed on the cross and the resurrection of Jesus as the "firstborn," must now be worked out in time and through history transforming every individual person into the living stones that build up the Body of Christ.
But, how do I, as one individual, who can do only what I can do in my limited time and place, have any meaningful impact in this trans-historical process of restoring all things in Christ?
The answer of the Beatitudes seems feckless on first reading. In the face of the world's poverty, the beatitude merely says, "Fortunate are those who have the spirit of the poor..." In the face of violence, "Fortunate are the gentle.... " In the face of injustice, " Fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for justice..." And so on. Feeling all these sentiments is fine: but how do they change things? The question forces us to face deeper realities in our faith.
First of all, it is neither I nor you nor any human being or institution who will accomplish the work of establishing God's kingdom. It is God himself, or more precisely, it is the Father through his Son, now the head of his Body, the Church, infused by the Holy Spirit, against whom the gates of hell will not prevail.
Secondly, this work is not the creation of some other human world or entity; this work is the re-creation of this self-same world, just as the resurrected body of Jesus is the self-same body that was crucified. The difference is that the "old world" that John's Gospel describes as turned away from God is now transformed into a new creation infused by the love of God. And the transformation of this world is accomplished through the conversion of the human heart from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh.
And if the transformation of the world is through the conversion of the human heart, then it is clear that the Beatitudes speak precisely of what that converted human heart is to become: To be poor in spirit, to mourn, to be gentle, and so on, and to be totally submissive, not to the evil of the world, but to the will of God, just as Jesus allowed himself to be led to the cross in submission to his Father's will.
The Beatitudes then are primarily directed to the conversion of the human heart of the hearer, you and me. But our following of the direction of the Beatitudes in this life has much more impact than just my or your conversion. Being poor in spirit or meek, etc, conveys the meaning of a continuing attitude of the human heart that goes beyond these acts of virtue. To sustain this attitude of submission, in the midst of the continuing presence and experience of evil in the world, is to be continuously united to the sufferings of Christ. And it is that fidelity to love of God in the face of evil that, in the Father's disposition of the work of the Spirit, transforms, the world, imperceptibly but surely - like salt or yeast or the mustard tree from the tiny mustard seed.
FINALLY, WE PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER, FOR THOSE WHO HAVE ASKED OUR PRAYERS AND FOR THOSE WHO NEED OUR PRAYERS THE MOST.
Jonathan L. Lee
Gloria M. Pilares
Fr. Antonio 5. Samson S.J.
Louciana Ngo Sy
IN MEMORIAM (+)
Departed Friends and Relatives of James & Gloria Yu
Have a good day!
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