📕Rev 7:2-4, 9-14; Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6 (R.v.6a); 1 John 3:1-3; Matt 5:1-12a

Today, the Holy Mother, the Church celebrates Solemnity of All Saints. In this celebration, a union of the Church Militant (Church on earth) and the Church Triumphant (Church in Heaven) is celebrated. This is, practically showing what we declare in the Creed when we profess our faith in the communion of the Saints. All is geared towards an appreciation of Gods invitation to us to a life of holiness and his generous gift his grace that would help us to live that life of holiness.

So, in the celebration of those who have made good use of that grace and won a place in the kingdom of God, we are equally being challenged to know that we can also be victorious.

The First Reading from the Book of Revelation tells us a lot about this. Contrary to the myopic understanding of some sects that only 144,000 people would be saved, that number rather tells us that all are destined to be saved.

144 is a multiplication of 12, and 12 is biblically considered as pointing to the 12 tribes of Israel. And as we already probably know, the 12 tribes of Israel represent all the nations on the face of the earth. But, beyond that, the formation of the new people of God under the 12 apostles, significantly presents us as the new Israel. And then, 1000 is a figure that reflects the realm of God. Therefore, the figure of 144,000 which John saw in a vision is an indication that all the nations of the earth are called to share in the realm of God.

That call is not an easy one. It comes with lots of responsibilities, and sometimes, it may include pains. That is already indicated by the followership of the Lamb in that vision. The Lamb is an object of sacrifice, and Jesus, the Lamb of God (cf. John 1:36) already predicts that the same thing that his fate would also follow his disciples (cf. John 15:18). But in the end, those who persevered will become victorious. That is the meaning of the great number before the throne and the Lamb with branches in their hands (cf. Rev. 7:9). The white robes and the palm branches are signs of victory and triumph.

God has nonetheless simplified that process for us. The Second Reading tells us that out of his love for us, he gives us the privilege of being called his children, with the assurance that we shall see him as he is in the end. But the only thing that will make that hope to come to pass would be if we are able to live as children of God. How can we do that well?

Jesus gives us an outline on how we can do it in the Beatitudes as we can see in the Gospel. It is not going to be a magical thing. If we live in virtue, it will lead us into victory as the children of God.

We therefore pray that God may never allow us to stumble on the way due to the cares and pains we may encounter in our profession of faith. In the end, may we join the throng of saints praising God for ever in heaven. Amen.

Have a wonderful celebration with the Saints. Peace be with you.

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