Solemnity of All Saints

Solemnity of All Saints

Ven, 30 Ott 20 Lectio Divina - Anno A

1st Reading     Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14

Responsorial Psalm     Psalms 24:1BC-2, 3-4AB, 5-6

2nd Reading   1 John 3:1-3

Alleluia            Matthew 11:28

Gospel Matthew 5:1-12A

APOCALYPSE 7: 2-4;9-14

The first reading, taken from the Apocalypse affirms that the saint is not a "rare commodity". The Apocalypse does not speak of the last day, it does not say what will happen in the end, but of what is happening in history, the progressive revelation of Jesus in history. Man's experience of inadequacy, always needing something, not necessarily material. In the Apocalypse it is very clear: those who live and die because of the word of God are on God's side. The great tribulation is life, but it is not entrusted to a blind fate. Those who are on the side of God and the Lamb are not spared from destruction and suffering or even from physical death, but they are spared from total destruction and annihilation. Their life does not fall into oblivion, because it is welcomed and transfigured! The number 144,000, coming from every tribe of the children of Israel, is the product of 12 (tribe of Israel), by 12 (number of apostles) by 1000 (number of divine greatness). Then there is an international group, "immense multitude that no one could count". They stand up, because they are alive like the Lamb, with whom they are in a relationship "they stand before him", they wear white robes (a color that unites them to the divine world, especially to the resurrection of Christ) and they hold their palms (sign victory over evil, which they share with Christ). The central idea is that the members of these new people will lend  perennial worship to God and the Lamb, as the divinity has come to dwell among them.


1 John 3:1-3

John's first letter is presented as the transcription of a homily regarding the lifestyle of the one who received baptism. It probably circulated in the first Christian communities that drew on John's preaching and repeated its fundamental themes. In it prevails the exhortation to no longer live according to sin, have faith in Jesus Christ and try to observe the commandment of love. The passage we read on this solemnity concerns precisely the new life of those who have embraced faith in Jesus, a faith that allows us to truly be children of God.

 

Mt 5: 1-12 

"Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the mountain ..." (Mt 5: 1). The page of the Beatitudes, the Gospel text that returns every year on the feast of All Saints, first of all presents the gaze of Jesus, a gaze that not only sees the invisible, but that sees differently what others see. His gaze, which finds eloquence in the beatitudes, rehabilitates conditions considered unworthy, humiliating, marked by shameful weakness, in the society of the time. Both the human and the divine are seen by Jesus with a particular eye, which upsets the usual glances both on man and on God. The logic of the cross, of death and resurrection, still invisible to the eyes of most, is already operating in the words and life of Jesus and emerges in the Beatitudes.

Matthew places the Beatitudes at the beginning of Jesus' ministry. And yet such words seem more suitable for a late moment in a man's life, because they are the fruit of a long maturation, of a tiring and above all profound interior work. Placing the Beatitudes at the beginning of Jesus' public activity, Matthew suggests the formation of the humanity of this man in the time that preceded the events of which the Gospel narratives speak.

Jesus speaks as a wise man, he teaches, says Matthew (5:2), he speaks as a teacher. Jesus communicates to the disciples what he lived, where he lived means not simply happened, but elaborated, relived inwardly, thought and placed before God. It is not enough to cry or be persecuted to be blessed. To say that the poor or the meek or the persecuted are "blessed" and to add the motivation, "why", it is necessary to have lived not only externally, but also internally.

The Beatitudes are an invitation and an encouragement: you poor, you merciful, you afflicted, you persecuted, you meek, do not be discouraged, but walk, continue the journey, go forward, keep your gaze fixed on the goal, let yourselves be attracted by it. The Beatitudes teach us that there is also a teaching in reality, they teach us to learn from reality itself, even from painful and bitter realities, as Jesus himself often did, the man of the parables.

The authority of Jesus' teaching is not an abstract knowledge, but a communication of an experience, it is not a teaching on God, but it is a revealing of something about God, it is not an extrinsic speaking to man, but an indication of a path that can be traveled by man. Jesus affirms that the Kingdom of heaven, that is of God, belongs to those who are poor in spirit and to those persecuted for justice, he says that the pure in heart will see God, that peacemakers will be called children of God. And finally, the Beatitudes also reveal the way for a humanized humanity, a humanity capable of narrating God: poverty in spirit, meekness, mercy, purity of heart, pacification, search for justice to the point of assuming and integrating persecution and suffering because of justice. In these words, in which Jesus proclaims blessed those who are meek and those who are merciful, there is the wisdom of those who know that it is not enough to make a gesture of meekness or mercy, but that it is necessary to persevere in meekness, to dwell in mercy, to place the abide and inhabit these realities permanently to know their bliss.

Behind the beatitudes there is the experience of those who have come to understand that these realities are sufficient in themselves, have value in themselves, regardless of what they change in others and in reality. Here their transformative power is hidden: they teach us to become merciful, meek, poor in spirit, to take affliction and persecution as moments of following Jesus. The Beatitudes remind us that the only power we have is not about change others, but ourselves. Which is the same as saying with St. Francis: "Always preach the gospel, and if necessary, also with words". Or again: that the one who evangelizes is the one who lives the gospel in the first person. Purity of heart and poverty in spirit, meekness and mercy are a source of bliss because they transform those who live them and persevere in them. The Beatitudes are the fruit of the purification of the gaze of the heart which is also able to see absolutely painful and painful situations of life no longer only as a reality to escape or fear, but as an occasion for humanization and evangelical life. They arise from silence and suffering, from inner struggle and loneliness.

The page of today's Gospel,the passage from the Beatitudes, traces the identity of the saint;He who fully lived the beatitudes was Jesus: all the others only incarnated a part of this ideal; however, these are not optional or supplementary courses, but rather of the " law of the Gospel ".

The first beatitude declares happy the poor in spirit, that is, those who do not trust in themselves but in God, those who are truly humble. In the other beatitudes, except the 8th one, the happiness is a promise for the future, as a gift from Godso the afflicted are not blessed because they suffer, but because they will be comforted; the meek because they will inherit the earth; those who have hunger and thirst for justice because they will be satisfied.  Each one is called to embody some of these beatitudes, according to the gift of grace of God.  The Beatitudes are what distinguishes Christians from the world: however, the boundary is not given by an external belonging, but it passes inside the hearts and only the Lord will reveal it.Not it is up to us to judge, but rather to try to live this extraordinary evangelical page: not let us consider it too high and distant, but let us commit ourselves with conviction to put this into practice that Jesus proposed to us.

The saints have done this and stand before us as models to which we can look, to join them, one day, in the Kingdom of Heaven. 

This sequel of announcements which all begin with the same word: " blessed" or rather "happy " - has always had the power to deeply touch the heart of man, precisely because happiness remains our highest aspiration and disappointment, not being able to reach it completely desires it ardently.But precisely with the beatitudes Jesus makes us understand that this happiness begins down here. God does not wait for the heavenly state to give himself to manHe already offers his love to those who live on earthThe first truth that must be grasped from the Beatitudes is that happiness comes from God; there is no other source of happinessBy proclaiming the true beatitudes, Jesus draws attention on the vanity of false beatitudes and invites humanity to reflect on the kind of happiness that pursuesThe happiness that Jesus infuses does not harm anyone, far from it. It is a force from above which charges the already distressed human life with meaning and light. To the extent that we open up to grace, we can understand the meaning of the beatitudes, enunciated by Jesus and live them in union with him.

The Beatitudes, which Gandhi called " the noblest words humanity has ever heard ", do form glue between the two feasts of the saints and the dead. The liturgy proposes the Gospel of the Beatitudes as a light that not only reaches the best of us, the saints, but rests on all the brothers who they moved on. A light in which we are all inside: poor, dreamers, naive, the weeping and wounded, the beginning again. When we listen to them in church, they seem possible and even beautiful to us we go out, and we realize that to inhabit the earth, this aggressive and harsh world, we have chosen ourselves the most difficult, overwhelming and contrary poster one can think of. But if you welcome the Beatitudes, their logic changes our hearts. And they can change the world. There they change according to the measure of God. God is not impartial, he has a weakness for the weak, he starts with last, from the peripheries of history, to change the world, so that you do not advance for the victories of most strong, but for sowing justice and for harvests of peace. 

 Blessed are you poor, because yours is the Kingdom, already now, not in the other world! Blessed, because there is more God in you. And therefore, more hope, and it is only hope that creates history.

Blessed are those who cry ... and it does not mean: happy when you feel bad! But God is on your side and walks with you, as strength, as power!

Blessed are the merciful ... They show us that the days trespass into eternity, they who will find for themselves what they have given to the life of others: they will find mercy, baggage for journey to heaven, equipment for the long exodus towards the heart of God.

“All Saints’ Day is the feast of all of us, a holy occasion to increase our faith and hope. Moreover, this is the day when we celebrate humility as the main virtue of all saints. The Solemnity of All Saints is 'our' feast not because we are good, but because the holiness of God touches our lives.”