•I Kings 19: 9, 11-13 • Romans 9: 1-5 • Matthew 14: 22-33•
Please note: the readings listed above are not available on the USCCB website for All Saints/All Souls day. You will need to look them up the old fashioned way….turning pages in the Good Book…..Reyanna
As we journeyed together through the gospel of Matthew, we heard Matthew’s Jesus speak to us repeatedly about “the kingdom of heaven.” A passion for this “new reality” burned in his heart. He had a vision of a transformed heaven and earth. He was filled with conviction that the Gracious Mystery we name God wants peace and well-being, a fully human life for everyone!
Today the possibility of that “new reality” is summarized in this text we commonly call “the Beatitudes.” There on a mountain with his companions around him, Matthew’s Jesus dares us to dream about the highest ideal. He dares us to be dreamers whose dreaming will send ripples of nonviolence and peace into our world.
Still, we are all much the same. We are dreamers but like you, if I feel put down, ignored or hurt by someone, anger wells up in my spirit. At times I feel a pool of resentment collect in my soul, tempting me to retaliate. My response is instinctual, residue of our evolutionary past.
Yet we are dreamers! I know any form of retaliation is a failure to be fully human, so I don’t do it! Through daily prayer and Sunday liturgy I remain centered in Christ! I try to live, breathe, and cultivate his nonviolence and peace in my soul. I can feel forgiveness shrink the pool.
Once again we are in the month of November and our attention is drawn to “the Communion of Saints.” We remember all those holy men, women and children who have gone before us in life. I remember my parents and grandparents. My life is so much fuller because of them. Death is unable to diminish or shatter our bonds with them. With them we are the Living Body of Christ.
Our technology, freedom, mobility and life styles confront us with enormous choices. The decisions we make today are determining how our descendents who occupy this planet after us will flourish or collapse.
The task often seems daunting because our spiritual awareness or consciousness has evolved so far beyond that of our ancestors. Simultaneously the contemporary sciences of psychology, biology, physics and astronomy have gifted us with new tools, a great explosion of information. Surely this knowledge now available to us through these discoveries is “as divinely inspired as any words written in ancient sacred tomes.” Thus we are able to live, to move, to communicate and to travel in ways our ancestors could not imagine.
We stand at a crossroads in an evolving world. We are increasingly aware that “the human species and the evolving community of plants and animals that occupy this planet will flourish or collapse together.” Yes it may collapse, but if we choose, we have the ability to make “the kingdom of heaven” a reality. That is the way of Christ. So ponder “the Communion of Saints!” Be mindful of those yet to be born! They too will become with us the Living Body of Christ.
On a mountain with his companions around him, Matthew’s Jesus called his listeners to be “dreamers and “blessed.” They knew he meant “happy!” They knew what he meant. They knew he was not thinking much about his own happiness but theirs. They knew he was not seeking his own self-interest.
The Beatitudes are a summary, an outline of what it is to live a nonviolent life of unconditional love. So ponder his words of blessing, absorb them and live them!
Matthew’s Jesus was convinced that Gracious Mystery we name God wants us to be happy, here and now. That means being more fully alive and more fully human. It also means “willing to embrace sacrifice and renunciation for happiness always comes with responsibilities.” To be Christian means honoring “the Communion of Saints.”
In one of her poems, Judyth Hill writes,
“Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in fire and rubble, breathe out whole buildings and flocks of redwing blackbirds
Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children and freshly mown lawns
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees
Breathe in the fallen and breathe out lifelong friendships intact”