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Homilies/Reflections

THE SOLEMNITY OF ALL SAINTS 2020: HEAVEN IS REAL.
By Fr. Modestus Mgbaramuko
Mon, 02 Nov 2020

Readings: Rev 7:2-4, 9-14; 1Jn 3:1-3; Mt 5:1-12

       The saints are God’s, true-confirmed love. The sense of triumph and the joy which celebrates the ‘All Saints” day reveals this to us. It places on our doorsteps the truth that the holiness of life is both real and possible. The joy is that Saints are actual and ordinary persons – men, women, and Children of our society and community. So many among them counted our ancestors! Many others include our parents or family members. Because rituals reveal realities, today, we celebrate in practice, what, in faith, we already profess: “...I believe in the Saints' communion, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen’

      Revelation's book is also called the ‘Apocalypse.’ It is a most fitting background for anchoring our feast of “All Saints.” At a first read, the book pretends that its composition is for a “prediction” of future happenings. Yet that ‘future’ is already the current events and the manner they unfold before our eyes. We can use the odd times of our time to picture our forebears' struggle, which the first reading portrays to us. They, too, were pressed and oppressed from all sides. Many Christians were unwilling to compromise religious truths and paid for their faith with their very lives. Countless innocent people today, not less, our youths do the same, so Christians' story has not changed much. The old demand for us to join the bandwagon of indifference; and the pretense of using public legislation to enforce “state spirituality” is no less real today as they were when Nero, Domitian, and Vespasian sat as Emperors on the throne of Rome (A.D. 54 – 79).  What changed is that new words now sugar coat old sins.

     The apocalyptic literature of revelation enables John to unveil an extended vision of daily life struggles beyond their present pains into their end-gains, the secrets of heaven itself. It is “the revelation of Jesus Christ shown to John’ in the language of ancient symbolism, dreams, and austere visions. Thus, it portrays suffering and conflict, victory, and vindication. The treading encapsulates given human experiences but gives them transcultural, Christian significance relevant to us. It asks true believers in Christ to resist false worship, and reject undue compromises to the Christian truth, whether yesterday or today. This book promises that those who prove victorious in this have assurances of Christ’s eternal glory. They will share the blessedness of God’s throne (Rv 7:10-11).

      The “huge number,” impossible to count, is our encouragement. It correlates with the “blessedness” that the Gospel proclaims. The seal of the living God prevails at last. Today reaffirms that all those who receive, accept, or believe God in Christ (Jn1:12; Rv 7:9) are heading back to God and Christ. They are not from Israel’s physical borders because God’s new Israel has no boundaries. They come from all corners of the world due to the Gospel of Christ preached. The dressings of “white robes” of purity, gentleness, and humility of life are due to their absolute confidence in God. Now, they surround God’s throne because God’s kingdom is theirs. They rejoice with boundless joy and praise, knowing that they have satisfaction in God that is forever. Revelation reveals all these to us as “victory,” precisely because it happens as Christ promises it. “All Saints” names those so blessed!

      Therefore, Jesus gives the full details for the secrets of sainthood. The focus is on the beatitudes—poverty in the spirit and purity of heart. The part of humility, thirsting for justice, showing forgiveness and mercy, suffering ridicule for faith, or bearing it for Christ’s sake. These types of things seen as foolishness in the eyes of the world are the qualities that blossom in God’s presence. They must begin now in our lives and be active to bloom in God’s presence forever. Do you fit into this category? The Saints do. And, by so doing, they give us reasons to “think of the love that God lavishes upon us.”

    You can never recognize the meaning of being a “child of God” if you keep seeking this as an acknowledgment from the world. Is the world acknowledging Christ now? Or does the Gospel not face ridicule in our time? Today, what do you do “when people abuse you and persecute you, speaking all kinds of Calumny against you falsely on account of Christ? That’s your invitation to all saints!

 

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