Solemnity of All Saints
Have you experienced reading an article or listening to a presentation and felt like the writer or speaker knew your story and was talking directly to you? So, imagine you are among the crowd listening to Jesus as he delivers his sermon on the mount. Times are tough for you…Roman occupation, corrupt politicians and religious leaders, poverty, hunger, poor medical care, perhaps persecution or even slavery. This teacher, Jesus, he understands your sufferings and offers you a message full of hope.
Fast forward a couple of thousand years and today you are attending Mass on All Saints Day. You have heard the beatitudes in today’s Gospel reading many times, perhaps so often that you memorized them. You may not be experiencing the hardships of the crowd surrounding Jesus, but you can certainly relate to your need for comfort while mourning, your ache for the injustice in the world, your need for mercy, and so forth for each of the beatitudes.
This year, instead of questioning how the beatitudes might apply in your life, take a moment to look around. See the widow who is mourning the recent loss of her husband. Be patient with the slow-moving, sickly gentleman who needs assistance to walk but always has a sweet smile for everyone. Look for the volunteer who works tirelessly for social justice. See the refugee parents who left a corrupt homeland, terrorized by gangs, in search of a better life for their family. Each of these persons, and so many more, are the crucified of today, and Jesus has a hope-filled message for you and them.
Now, look closely at the rhythm of the beatitudes—Jesus first names the suffering followed by the reward in heaven. Each beatitude mirrors our message as Passionists—through the sufferings on the Cross we will experience the Resurrection!
Mike Owens is coordinator of the Passionist Alumni Association and a member of the Migration Commission of Holy Cross Province. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky.