Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wednesday word

All Saints(01 Nov 2006) Rv 7. 2-4, 9-14; Ps 24; 1Jn 3. 1-3; Mt 5. 1-12a
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Saints Alive

Worship, you'll remember, situates and constitutes what we believe. Today our worship reminds us that the communion of saints lives for us, the pilgrim church: they pray that God “grant us forgiveness” and bless us with love; they are “concerned to help and save us”; their lives reflect God’s glory to us; and their prayers deliver [us] from present evil” and prepare us now for the “joy of God’s kingdom.”/1/

This association with our present and with our future in God, in the hearts of the saints in glory, receives clear expression in the First Letter of John: Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. ...Beloved, we are God’s children now; [and one day]...we shall see him as he is.

Even if we think these as nice words, they are God’s truth and desire for each of us. If we do think them as nice words, the communion of saints prays for us to awaken to our present: we are God’s children now; and to our future: we shall join the saints in glory to see [God] as [God] is. Again, our worship establishes our hope and our belief. At a funeral mass we pray: [In your kingdom] we hope to share in your glory when every tear will be wiped away. On that day we shall see you, our God, as you are. We shall become like you and praise you for ever through Christ our Lord, from who all good things come./2/

Consider three things. Ponder them to make them more obvious and, above all, more real to you. First, our destiny with the saints has already begun. We are God’s children now.

Second, we are now called to live as people of the beatitudes. The beatitudes are not concepts, they are blessings, hard ones though they may be. Blessing is God’s transforming power. The transforming power of God “jeopardizes all of our gestures of equilibrium and our idolatrous images of God [which seek to make God] the great stabilizer of the status quo.”/3/

Finally, to live the beatitudes is to live as sisters and brothers of our Messiah Jesus now, and as the saints, in our process of being born to the life of the kingdom.

Our world awaits us, the new saints, whose hearts are rooted in God’s love and on fire with it at the same time. In communion, we know not how, with the saints in glory, we grow more free the more we call on them to help us live now as they lived as witnesses of God’s transforming power.

1. These four phrases are from the prayers and the blessing from today’s mass.

2. Eucharistic Prayer III.

3. Walter Brueggeman: I recorded the quotation but not the source.

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