Homily for the Feast of All Saints

Year A  -  Mt. 5:1-12


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:  «Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven!»"



Homily:


"Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:  «Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.»"

Today, the Church celebrates all the men and women, young or old, who are in that place we call "heaven"!  Today, the Church celebrates all the saints of heaven, all those who, after their death, were judged worthy of eternal happiness in God's presence!  Today, the Church celebrates all those who, on earth, were "poor in spirit" : "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus said, speaking of her future death, "In the evening of this life, I will be judged on Love!"  Like her, we will all be judged on Love!  Now, this love will be judged in two ways: both according to the object that is loved and according to the magnitude of this same love.

First, with regard to the object that is loved.  In order to be judged worthy of heaven, we must witness to our love for God throughout our life, without ever retracting our commitment to our Creator.  This is possible for us with the help of God's grace, and above all through the reception of the sacrament of the Eucharist that gives eternal life ; for Jesus said, "This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die" (Jn. 6:50), meaning that one does not die spiritually if one receives this very great sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Next, with regard to the magnitude of this love.  In order to be judged worthy of heaven, we must not only love God, but also love him above all other things, loving him limitlessly, with a love that makes us forget all of creation.  In order to be judged worthy of heaven, we must be ready to renounce all the earthly things we possess, including the people who are closest to us, such as the members of our family.  Saint Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort, a great apostle of Mary, who lived in France in the eighteenth century, did not hesitate to take as his motto:  "God alone!"  In this case as well, it is Eucharistic communion which helps us to accomplish this giant step toward eternal bliss:  for, seeing only bread and wine, but believing that they are really the Body and Blood of Christ, we renounce what is most dear to us, which is our own judgment and will.

"«Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.»"

Unhappy are we if we think that the Kingdom of God is already perfectly realized on this earth!  Of course, the Kingdom of God has begun here, and this Kingdom is the Church of Christ.  But it will not be completely achieved for any of us until either the time of our death or at the moment when the Lord will return at the end of time.  In the meantime, the Kingdom of God, although it has begun its existence, suffers persecutions and is prey to traps of all kinds until the final victory and the resurrection in Christ the Lord.

Communion with the Body and Blood of Christ, though it can provide us with eternal life and sanctity, does, however, also make us participate in an absolutely primordial way - as the means to attaining the end - in the Passion of the Lord:  "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a communion in the blood of Christ?  The bread which we break, is it not a communion with the body of Christ?" (1 Cor. 10:16)  The resurrection of our soul and our body comes to us through the Eucharist, but not without going through communion with the Passion of the Lord.  There is no saint in heaven who has not undergone sufferings and tribulations during his life on earth.

"«Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven!»"

Saint Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort had as his motto:  "God alone!"  However, he had an immense desire:  that of going to heaven to see Mary, the Mother of God!  Now, this desire does not contradict in any way his noble motto.  Mary is so holy, so "full of grace" (Lk. 1:28), that she is a perfect reflection of the Holy Trinity ; and thus the Most Holy Trinity can no longer be seen other than with Mary and through her.  The reward of he who loves God alone is so great that God gives himself to the one who loves him in this way ; but, in addition, God gives him Mary as his Mother and perfect Model of Sanctity!  "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven!"