Reflection for Sunday, November 1, 2020: All Saints, Solemnity.
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|The readings for this holy day take us on a journey to the realm of heaven and then back to the gritty world where we now struggle.|Saint John's vision recorded in the book of Revelation includes "a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue." Despite their differences, these people are able to speak together with a common voice. God's transcendent power is on display here, bringing salvation to people from all corners of the earth through His Son, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. This vision includes wonders and mysteries, including angels, elders, and other servants of God within this heavenly realm. When asked by one of the elders about what he sees, Saint John does not speculate, but instead defers to the one who is already present there. He is, after all, a guest and a spectator. |The reading from First John brings this message of salvation down to earth, so to speak, by explaining it in simple, relatable terms. We belong to God in an intimate sense; he is indeed our Father. Not only may we be called children of God, but indeed we are. This status is unknown to the world – actually hidden – but we have a promise that it will be revealed. Not only will we be like him, but we will see God as he is. |Questions emerge as one ponders this message. How shall we become like our Father? How is this relational status revealed now, and what is yet to be revealed? Mysteries remain, but we have seen enough to give us confidence that this message is somehow true. The scriptures point us toward the life and works of our Lord, whose incarnation shows us the Father's likeness. But this likeness is also revealed through the lives of others, who reflect the image and likeness of God through their lives and works. The reality of our kinship is made known to us, as well as to others (including those who are not in the family) by reflecting this image. In a sense, it becomes a common way of speaking truth that may not require a common language. In this way, God's will is done on earth, as it is in heaven, as we are taught to pray.|It is fitting that today's gospel includes the beatitudes, in which our Lord sits among the people and teaches them some truths about God's family. I imagine a motley group of people, much like I see in Mass each Sunday. They want to hear from Jesus. Like us, they probably left this encounter pondering what these sayings meant to them and struggling with how they could live these teachings, which reflect a kind of otherness from what they knew themselves to be now. Perhaps encounters during the coming days allowed them to grasp, internalize, and live some of those truths, thereby reflecting God's image into the world, revealing kinship to themselves as well as to others. |So it is with us today, as we remember and honor those who have finished the struggle and dwell with our Lord as his children, seeing him as he is, face to face. We who continue to struggle need their prayers and the light of God reflected through their lives to show us the way and give us hope that we, too, are God's kinfolk.|Lord, we need holiness and transformation that only you can provide. Help us to struggle well and to reflect more of your image.. Thanks be to God.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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