November 1, 2015

The Gospel Today

Solemnity of All Saints

Matthew 5:1-12A

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”
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Reflection (Sem. Herwyn T. Bulaun)

Today we honor all the saints, canonized or not, who share in Christ’s risen glory. These saints embraced radical poverty in following the footsteps of Christ. Their lives are a paradox in the eyes of the world, because for the world the measure of being blessed is the convenience brought by the world. Having the capacity to live in luxury and pleasure is what gives happiness and joy to life.

However, by contrast, I believe the Beatitudes are not meant to exalt the miserable condition of the poor people. Rather, they are blessed by God because of their vulnerability and dependence on His grace. They lack many material things but they are full of faith and hope in the generosity of God. Their joy is not dependent on the things of the world. Their joy is living their life daily and entrusting their future to the providence of God.

I heard a story about a beggar. He begged for his daily need. One day, somebody gave him alms amounting to Php5.00 and he used this to buy bread. The bread that he bought he shared with his co-beggar and now he has no food again. Then a priest walking on the sidewalk observed the beggar and talked to him. He asked how he lived his life. The beggar candidly said, “By the generosity of God.” The priest asked him further, if he had money for his food and the reply was, “nothing.” Then, the priest asked for the third time, what he wanted to eat, the beggar said “chicken joy,” and the priest gave him Php100.00. The beggar, looking at the priest, said, “see now I have chicken joy for my dinner.” That is a true story of a priest.

The similarity of the said beggar with the saints is his complete dependence on God. I admit that sometimes I am still struggling with this because I worked for a living before entering the seminary. However, it was stripped away little by little, so that I came to the point that I cling only on the hand of God.

The Beatitudes challenge us to entrust our life to the love and graciousness of God.

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