Solemnity of All Saints Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12 THE FEAST OF ALL SAINTS celebrates the living Communion that unites us, and all generations, with the Risen Lord. The New Testament describes a saint as anyone growing into the likeness of Christ. No individual, however heroic in their sanctity, can express the fullness of Christ. The likeness of Christ lies not in any individual saint, but in the diversity of so many lives following in his footsteps. "The saints together make a unity in the work of service, buildingup the body of Christ... Until we become the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself' (Cf. Eph. 4:12ff). Today's feast rejoices in the fullness of Christ, expressed through the witness of so many lives. It reminds us that God has not called us in isolation. As individuals our limitations fall short of God's glory. Together the perfect tnan is formed in the likeness of Christ.
The first reading, John's vision from the book of Revelation, describes the conclusion of the journey which is begun in our daily lives. It seeks to capture what can never be adequately expressed in words alone. At the end of time all who have been touched by the grace of God will be gathered together. They will rejoice in the wonder that God has wrought within their sanctified being. "Praise and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and strength to our God for ever and ever, Amen."
The vision describes the end of the journey, but is intended for those, like ourselves, in the midst of the journey. John spoke to a persecuted church. He spoke to lives threatened with oblivion. 'These are the people who have been through the great persecution." The persecution we face differs greatly from that of the early church threatened by the Roman Empire. The indifference of the world, rather that its hostility, threatens our struggling faith. Today's celebration lifts us above the isolation of an indifferent world. It unites us in the column endeavour of bringing Christ to birth in a hostile world (Revelation 12: 1 ff).
The first letter of John reminds us that this undertaking is not beyond us. Sanctity is a quality that few people would ascribe to themselves. John reminds us, nevertheless, that its reality is already begun within us. "My dear people, we are already the children of God." The likeness of Cluist, God's only son, is aheady formed within us. We need not live as anxious people, desperately looking for the securty already ours in God's love. The more we entrust ourselves to whatis already ours, the more the likeness of Christ will be demonstrated irour lives. 'What we are to be has not yet been revealed: all we know is that we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is.'
The Beatitudes outline the path to sanctity. The milestotes are set down: poverty in spirit, gentleness, mercy, peace, integrity of )eart. This path does not lie beyond us. Because we are already the children of God, the sermon on the Mount resonates within our deepes longing. As we respond to this longing, we become as one, building tri the body of Christ... this is our celebration today.,