WEDNESDAY, THIRTIETH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Solemnity of All Saints
Rv 7: 2-4, 9-14; Ps 24: 1-6; 1 Jn 3: 1-3; Mt 5: 1-12
HOLINESS MAKES US GOD-LIKE
Today is the solemnity of all saints. Saints are the models of holiness. And the liturgy of the day reminds us of our call for holiness. “Be holy, for I am holy” – Lev 11:44. It is a Universal call. To be a saint is not the privilege of the selected few but is an opportunity for every baptized person. It doesn’t mean being perfect Saints were not humans, they were simple humans just like us having their weaknesses. Practicing holiness is not easy but is possible The path of holiness is the path of the beatitudes of Christ which run contrary to the choices that the world offers. If holy men and women have attained it, then even we too can.
The first reading portrays symbolically the heavenly court, with the saints standing in front of the throne of God and of the Lamb. And the elder says, “these are the people who have been through the great persecution, and have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb.” The journey towards the Kingdom of God, is a difficult one. But the saints are those who have proved it possible. What are the persecutions, the difficulties, the struggles they faced? Greater than the external ones, they relentlessly fought against their own selfish desires, their pride and their sinfulness, to form themselves into Christ. And the form of Christ, the blueprint of a Christian, the profile of a saint, is expounded in the Gospel of today – the beatitudes. Why should the living of the beatitudes be such a persecution for us, such a trial and struggle? Because we are trying to become like the Lamb, among a world full of wolves. And the more we start resembling the Lamb, the greater will be the attacks from the wolves, in the form of temptations, sufferings, persecutions, injustices, etc.
God is upside down in his values. He favours those who are weak, those who weep and those who are disadvantaged, whereas the world in which we live promotes the “survival of the fittest.” It rewards those who are aggressive, assertive, strong, rich, intelligent and resourceful. The saints made it a habit to detach themselves from these worldly values and enter into God’s upside-down-value world. This was not an easy task. However they were able to climb this narrow pathway of the Cross because they felt deep within them God’s presence in their suffering. The beatitudes make us understand, that our God is a God of consolation and encouragement. God comforts the suffering one. This God of our Lord Jesus Christ “Father of compassion and the God of all encouragement” as St Paul puts it, was present with all those great prophets of old who were persecuted. When they were greatly suffering he came to their aid and gave them strength. Paul himself experienced this powerful and compassionate presence of God when he said, “when I am weak then I am strong.”
Whom can we laud as ‘blessed’ on this earth? Those whom we can refer to as “servants”, people who have dedicated their lives to God and to the service of the disadvantaged. We admire them, we hold them as inspiring examples. We love to spend time with them because of what we feel when they are around. Jesus, in proclaiming the beatitudes, expects us to be blessed. He is not satisfied with us honouring and venerating the saints. Blessedness lies not in singing the praises of humility, but in being humble; not in extolling meekness, but in being meek; not in proclaiming justice and mercy and purity and peace, but in being just, in showing mercy, in striving for purity and in working for peace.
Is not enough to desire holiness, one must strive to attain it. No doubt one needs good will and efforts but on our own, we cannot be holy unless we are assisted by the grace of God. In Holiness, love of God and love of others matters. I cannot become a saint just by fostering a relationship with God in prayer rather I become a saint more by my relationship with others wherein lies the true test of my virtues. Holiness makes us God-like Be holy for I’m holy this is what God wishes for us. The more we try to be holy the more we become like God.
Response: These are the people who seek your face, O Lord.
Copyright ©2023 ©Springs of Living Water http://springs.carmelmedia.in