ALL SAINTS – Luke 6. 20-31
The Church celebrates the first of November as All Saints Day. It is indeed a wonderful celebration as we remind ourselves of our calling as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is very interesting to note the way St. Paul is addressing Christian people in the letters that he wrote to the Churches. He calls them ‘saints’. He qualifies by saying that we are called to be saints and as a church we prepare ourselves to be saints by the Holy Spirit. Therefore all of us share this identity of being ‘saints’ with other christian people who lived before us and who are now living beside us. We thank God for this glorious identity that we enjoy in God’s eyes.
We remember all the martyrs in the history of the church stating from Stephen who have been martyred for their belief in Jesus Christ. Even now there are millions of people who are being persecuted in various lands for their faith in Jesus Christ and many are even killed. There are times when we are ridiculed for professing to follow Christ.
As we celebrate All Saints we give thanks to God for people who live with exemplary Godly nature. They demonstrate goodness which inspires other people to be like them. The presence of God in them becomes so evident and it touches other people and leaves a transforming influence on people.
What does it involve to be a ‘saint’ of God. We see in the Gospel reading today an incredible teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus calls people blessed when they are poor, hungry, who weep, those who are hated, excluded, reviled and defamed on account of their belief in Jesus Christ. He calls them blessed because they are now destined to be inheritors of heaven where they will be comforted and provided. ‘Rejoice on that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets’ (Luke 6.23).
Jesus also expects his disciples to have a new attitude and understanding of how to react to those who hurt. He invites his disciples to love their enemies, do good to those who hate, bless those who curse and pray for those who abuse. Show kindness to all those who seek help and also if a person steals away your goods do not ask them back. In these words are a profound guide to a saintly living.
In these words of Jesus we not only find goodness but a way for a new nature of life which is so much divine and so full of love. The love that will make us love those who hate and do harm. The love that make us do good to those who harm us. Instinctively one would want to retaliate when wronged and then a story of enmity thrives in peoples minds leading to unending misery and pain.
Jesus invites us to truly live a saintly life by imitating him in the way he lived. The Eucharist is that expression of invitation as we are invited to receive his flesh and blood that our souls and bodies may inherit the goodness and godliness that Jesus came to give to all those who believed in him. As we partake in the Eucharist we come praying Lord Jesus make me more like you that I will make a difference in the lives of people.