01 November 2010

The Way of Blessedness

I wasn't sure if there would be an English Mass this morning at the university.  So, I got up anyway and wrote a homily just in case.  Turns out, no English Mass.  Oh well. . .here it is anyway:

Solemnity of All Saints
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
Ss. Domenico e Sisto, Roma

The saints of God—those named and unnamed, those still with us and those who rest in Christ—that “great multitude. . .from every nation, race, people, and tongue,” all the saints of God, testify before the throne in heaven and among us here and now that “salvation comes from our God. . .and from the Lamb;” therefore, we are graced to exclaim along with them, “Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever!” 

When the Father gave us the desire to praise Him, He gave us the gift of our salvation. St. John writes, “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.” That we are children of the Father is proof enough that we are loved, yet this is only the means to our final end: “. . .we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.” And it will not be fully revealed until we stand with all the saints before His throne. Now, we live now in the hope of seeing Him as He is, trusting in His promises, all the promises He sent to us in the body and blood of His only Son, Christ Jesus. Who Christ was and is is exactly who we will become. That is the promise from which all His promises flow. Our task is to work with the gifts He has given us to make ourselves pure as he is pure. We do this by following the way of blessedness.

Jesus teaches the crowd the way of blessedness, not only showing them the way itself but showing them their destination as well. The poor in spirit; those who thirst and hunger for righteousness; the meek, the merciful, the clean of heart; the peacemakers and the persecuted—all of these are heirs to the kingdom, to be comforted, satisfied, and called the children of God. Being blessed is the both a gift and a task. All of us are given all that we need to flourish. But God's gifts are useless if we do not take them up and put them to work. And if our work is not to become an exercise in vanity, we must use our gifts for no other reason than to praise of God for his generosity. All the saints—all those we honor today—show us the way to distill our lives into the pure, Christ-like work of bringing God into the world for the salvation of the world. The men and women of the Church who have gone before us and shine in heaven do not radiate their own light. They reflect the Light of the One Who made us and re-makes us in Christ. If we will join them, we will pick up their gifted works, exhaust our own gifts while we are here, and leave behind a world populated with many more of the Father's children, with many more who long to see the face of their God.

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