Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Monday word, 01 Nov 2011

All Saints (01 Nov 2011)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Saints Alive

Something to remember as we begin to reflect on God’s word: worship situates and establishes 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
Although they share fulness of glory, saints in glory are not separated from us. Their association with our present and with our future in God received 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 those as merely nice words, they are God’s truth and desire for each of us. If we do think them as merely nice words, the communion of saints nevertheless 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. 

Our worship establishes our hope and our belief. At a funeral mass we pray: [In your kingdom] we hope to enjoy for ever the  fullness of your glory, when you will wipe away every tear from our eyes. For seeing you, our God, as you are, we shall be like you for all the ages and praise you without end through Christ our Lord, through whom you bestow on the world all that is good.2
Consider three things. Ponder them today and in the future to make them more available and, above all, more real to you. First, our destiny with the saints has already begun. As scripture encouraged us, We are God’s children now in and through Jesus’ Holy Spirit.
Second, we are now called to live as people of the beatitudes. The beatitudes are not ideas, 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 To be  transformed by God’s power in and by Jesus’ Spirit gives us true balance while we are in the world.

Last, 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, newly becoming saints, whose hearts are rooted in God’s love and on fire with it at the same time. In communion with the saints in glory—we know not how though we know by whom, Jesus’ Spirit given us—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 words and phrases are from the prayers and the blessing from today’s mass.
  2. Eucharistic Prayer III.
  3. Walter Brueggemann, quoted on sojonet.
Wiki-image of Gustave Dore's illustration of Highest Heaven for The Divine Comedy is in the public domain.

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