Feast of All Saints (29 October)

All Saints’ Day is translated from 1 November. Our Gospel passage is taken from Matthew, Chapter 5

Just as Jesus’ sermon in the synagogue at Nazareth is his inaugural address in the Gospel of Luke, so the Sermon on the Mount is in the Gospel of Matthew. These passages communicate Jesus’ identity and the purpose of his ministry for each Gospel. Matthew 5:1–12 includes both the introduction to the sermon and the Beatitudes. Together these convey the character of the kingdom and the nature of citizenship within it. As a result, these passages provide important insights into a proper understanding of sainthood and the communion of the saints. One of the last adjectives many of us would choose for the Beatitudes is ‘surprising’. This passage is among the most familiar passages in all of Scripture. It is also among the very few passages in the Bible that appear annually in the lectionary, showing up on each All Saints’ Day. All of this is profoundly ironic, because in the narrative world of Matthew’s Gospel the Beatitudes are not familiar pearls of wisdom. They are the astonishing words of an unexpected Messiah. So I invite you, this year, to think of how we can make the Beatitudes surprising again. The Beatitudes are primarily about the character of God and only secondarily about the character of Christians. Our Lord is describing our discipleship by reminding us of the journey of faithfulness. When he places us on that journey, he places us in the long list of those heroes who have gone on ahead of us (v 12). On this All Saints’ Day, we are bound to ask what sainthood looks like in the light of these blessings. The question that each of us who read or hear these words needs to ask is this: how are we to feel about the words of Jesus, and what are we to do with these words? And what a great and joyous occasion for our parish as we celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism and 163 years of service in this community. I invite you all to come join our celebration as we ask the Lord to continue to bless his Church for many more years to come.