|All Saints Day
Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14
1 John 3:1-3
Revelation 7:2-4,9-14 God’s Servants will be preserved. “…’These are the people who have been through the great trial; they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb.’...”
Psalm 24: 1-6 For a solemn entry into the sanctuary. “…Such a one will receive blessing from Yahweh, saving justice from the God of his salvation…”
1 John 3: 1-3 To Live as God’s Children. “Whoever treasures this hope of him purifies himself, to be as pure as he is.”
Matthew 5:1-12 The Sermon on the Mount. “…Blessed are those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness: the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”
Today’s readings are the blueprint of life’s model for holiness. As a Church we celebrate All Saints Day recognizing all those who have gone before us heeding God’s call to be holy. We also celebrate all the saints in the making who each day strive to hear the voice of God, the I AM. We are that people, and the saints who have gone before us are concrete examples that holiness can be attained. Their lives are our models and we are grateful to know their stories, for we are all called to be saints and to be holy. What does this mean exactly? In 1 John 3:1-3, we are encouraged to live as children of God in imitation of the I AM, God who is holy and upright. John is telling us to be ready for the time when we will see the face of God.
In Revelation 7:2-14, we are given a glimpse of those “end” times. Those living, who have been faithful to God will be marked with a seal and preserved from the plagues that “devastate land and sea.” We are told about the Christian martyrs, who have been through the “great trial” who will stand in front of the throne and the Lamb shouting hymns of Praise.
When I was a child, learning about the saints, I thought of their lives of sainthood as unreachable. In the short story we heard about these people’s lives, they seamed to do everything right. Saints suffered, but did not fall down and make mistakes. Becoming one was unrealistic to me. Through the years I heard the rest of the story, the longer version. These people who became saints were not perfect or without sin, they were fully human. They weren’t really different people than the rest of us, they just spent more time listening to God, hearing that call that is sounded daily. They spent time in prayer, they became so strong, through the One who gives strength, that when they faced the world who “did not know them” 1 John 3:1 and even persecuted them for their faith they did not falter, but remained strongly convicted.
We each have had to face many trials, from peer pressure to follow
a less than holy life, to ostracism for strongly believing in a Church
teaching such as the Pro-Life issues. Some in our century have gone
through the gravest suffering of torture and loss of life for their religious
convictions. From the October 31, 1999 issue of the “Our Sunday Visitor,”
in the article titled Seeds of the 21st-Century Church, we learn the Church
is compiling a list of names of people who have died in the 20th century
for their faith. The count is up to 10,000 and they say these names
are only a drop in the bucket. In May 2000 the Church will give witness
to these people so that all may know them by name. The article also
says only God will know the names of some of those who lost their lives
in the Nazi concentration camps and Soviet Gulags. (OSV pg. 12)