Living like Christ means being a saint.

iStock

Today is the feast of All Saints. Since the solemnity falls on a Sunday this year, we hear the Lectionary readings assigned for the feast rather than for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. (Mt 5:6)

Liturgical day
ALL SAINTS (A)
Readings
Rv 7:2-14; Ps 24; 1 Jn 3:1-3; Mt 5:1-12
Prayer

How do the Beatitudes help you to reflect on the present and future?

How does Scripture influence your vote?

What can you do to live out the Gospel?

In Matthew, Jesus frequently interprets, reframes and expands upon Jewish laws and traditions. Today we hear the Beatitudes, which are at the beginning of a series of discourses.

Like Moses’ ascent of Mount Sinai to receive the law, Jesus ascends a mountain to teach the disciples in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus highlights multiple groups who are blessed—people who are: 1) poor in spirit, 2) mourning, 3) meek, 4) hungry and thirsty for righteousness, 5) merciful, 6) pure in heart, 7) peacemakers and 8) persecuted for righteousness’ sake and insulted.

Matthew emphasizes aspects of spiritual growth, divine comfort, suffering and future rewards. The first group, those who are poor in spirit, are blessed for their openness to receiving God in their lives. In his important work, A Theology of Liberation, Gustavo Gutiérrez notes that being poor in spirit is an essential state for receiving the Word of God. The spiritual poverty called for in Matthew’s Beatitudes recognizes the need to seek fullness through prayer and living out the Gospel message of love. Those actions enable the poor in spirit to connect with God and others, leading to the kingdom of heaven.

Similarly, several of the other blessed groups show openness and attentiveness to the world around them. People who mourn express sadness, dismay and grief in order to receive comfort. People who are meek live humbly, and people who are merciful, seek righteousness, live purely and make peace emulate God through their actions.

The last two beatitudes focus on those who suffer during persecution, especially apt for All Saints’ Day. Matthew compares these people to the prophets of the past who were also rejected and persecuted. Matthew’s dual blessing and comfort responds to challenges of his community and acknowledges the expectation of future pain and blessings.

Most of the rewards in the Beatitudes are future-oriented, which is both comforting and frustrating. While many of the readings from Matthew over the past few months have had an eschatological slant to them, they can sometimes leave people feeling dejected, as future rewards do not resolve present-day suffering.

But the Beatitudes can be read with an eye to the present, not only the future. The groups that are highlighted show characteristics that we should aspire to have today. These statements are about how people live, even in the face of adversity; and they remind us that actions, not only words, reveal faith in Christ. On All Saints’ Day, in addition to reflecting on the lives of saints, we are called to be saints. Today’s Gospel reveals how to live as Christ did.

During this grueling election season, politicians have invoked religion to appeal to certain segments of the electorate. As you cast your ballot, let the Gospel message of love and the Beatitudes inspire you to elect leaders who strive to be saints and to live out their faith righteously.

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

The latest from america

This is an important parable about personal accountability and responsibility.
Jaime L. WatersOctober 16, 2020
Christ the King is present now among the poor, the immigrants, the sick and the imprisoned.
Jaime L. WatersOctober 16, 2020
Resources (money, talents, faith) should be strengthened and increased, as the woman of power’s example makes clear.
Jaime L. WatersOctober 16, 2020
We must be mindful of what is happening to us and around us, responsible for ourselves, our actions and our community.
Jaime L. WatersOctober 16, 2020