Homily for the Feast of All Saints - Year C
Rev 7:2-4,9-14 - 1 Jn 3:1-3 - Mt 5:1-12a
by Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
The "Passion and Resurrection" of All Saints
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands. Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, «Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?» I said to him, «Sir, you know.» And he said to me, «These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.»
Do you see, with Saint John, this great multitude? All of these men and women who make up the assembly of the Saints of Heaven? Do you see them? They are all clothed in white and hold palm branches in their hands! For they are victorious, they have fought the good fight of faith, they have persevered even to the shedding of their blood! Following in the footsteps of Christ, they bore their little cross each day, they suffered all things for the Love of God and for the expiation of their sins and of those of the entire world...
There is no saint in Heaven with the risen Jesus who has not undergone the trial of the Cross on earth. All the Saints of Heaven have partaken of the Passion of Christ to attain the Glory of his Resurrection. There is no doubt about it: if you do not want to suffer with Jesus, you will not go to Heaven. Listen to what the Elder, one of the highest Angels in the celestial hierarchy, says to Saint John: "They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." That is, all the saints of Heaven have partaken of the Passion of Jesus: they have completed in themselves what was lacking in the Passion of Christ... (cf. Col 1:24)
Have you read this sentence: "They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb"? How could the blood of Christ, which is true blood, red like our own, whiten the clothing of the saints? If we dip a garment in blood, does it not become red like blood, is it not stained rather than whitened? With the blood of Christ, it is otherwise: instead of staining and reddening what it touches, the blood of Christ whitens and does not stain at all! For the Blood of Christ is pure and holy: it is what purifies and sanctifies all the men and women in Heaven!
1 Jn 3:2
Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
What we are, on one hand, and what we will be, on the other, are but a single reality. As Saint Paul says: "Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." (1 Cor 12:27) We are the Body of Christ through the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and the Eucharist; we will be the Body of Christ through the vision of the risen Jesus when he returns at the end of time... Now, we are what we are only in and through faith, a faith that is so beautiful, for it obtains for us eternal life (cf. Jn 6:47), a faith that nonetheless makes us suffer, for it obliges us to pray, in the hope of the final Resurrection!
Jesus went up on the mountain... And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: ... «Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.»
What can we say if we are insulted? What can we say if we are calumniated? Jesus was also insulted, calumniated... We, the servants of Christ, are we greater than our Master? "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you." (Jn 15:20) But, you may say to me, where do you see Christians being persecuted today, and having their blood shed? Rest assured that it is being shed, and much more than one might think. For, often, persecution is not visible, but hidden, discreet: it is psychological warfare!
On my website, I have placed the following reminder: "These are sins: homosexuality, contraception, abortion, euthanasia." How many times a day are you harrassed by someone trying to persuade you that these are not sins? Is that not a persecution, it is not psychological warfare? Let us all be strong, let us resist, firm in the faith! That is the price of eternal life, of Heaven! Through Mary, may God grant us Victory! Amen!
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