The Feast of Saints and Martyrs

Matthew 5: 1-12
Rv 7: 2-4. 9-14 / Ps 24: 1-6/ 1 Jn 3: 1-3

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:3)

How can we have Christ’s righteousness
If we are filled with vain desires?
To seek the path of holiness
Modeling Christ is all it requires.

Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he taught them saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peace-makers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:1-12)

Reflection

The Beatitudes of our Lord is known to be one of the greatest treasures of spiritual guidance and inspiration for mankind of all time. Rightly so, because it was God Himself Who bequeathed this legacy to the human race. It clearly defines the difference between the world’s view of happiness and success in this world, and God’s mission and vision for His people. In fact, it summarizes all the lessons that our Lord Jesus taught in the Gospel, as well as His life, by which He walked His talk, and prophesied perfectly.

Like a mirror of His life and parables, Jesus started the Beatitudes with a paradox: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” His listeners must have wondered, ‘How can those who are spiritually poor go to heaven?’ First of all, it was for the sake of the fallen, for the sinners that God became man and sacrificed His life. Christ did not come for those who consider themselves righteous and morally superior, but for those who are penitent, who mourn for their alienation from the Father, are humbled by their sinfulness, and hunger and thirst for their reconciliation with God.

But only those who are merciful can likewise obtain mercy. This was the essential part of the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples: “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” (Mt.6:12). Unlike the world’s view of being merciful as a sign of weakness, Jesus showed the overwhelming power of mercy in the case of the adulterous woman on the verge of being stoned to death (John 8:3-7). The woman’s accusers were instantly dispersed by His simple words: “Let him without sin cast the first stone.” Indeed, up to the very end of His life, Jesus showed us how to be merciful, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lk.23:34).

Finally, Jesus admonishes us to purify our hearts and minds, for it is the only way we can “see God”. He asks us to cleanse our hearts of all worldliness, because it is the only way that we can understand the paradoxes of the spiritual realm. Great leaders like Gandhi and Martin Luther King lived a life of material detachment, and became the world’s peacemakers. Jesus invites us to be like Him, the Prince of Peace, so that we can “be called sons of God.” Then we shall have nothing to fear of the world’s persecutions, but instead rejoice in being counted as one of His prophets and saints.

Father God, today, as we honor our saints and martyrs in heaven, we pray through their intercession that we may be able to live our lives here on earth fully in accordance with the Beatitudes that our Lord Jesus so lovingly taught us. Amen.

One Response to “The Feast of Saints and Martyrs”

  1. Eugene  on November 2nd, 2008

    Now everyone is talking about the American economy and eclections, nice to read something different. Eugene