When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain. He sat down and his disciples gathered around him. Then he spoke and began to teach them:
Fortunate are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Fortunate are those who mourn; they shall be comforted.
Fortunate are the gentle; they shall possess the land.
Fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.
Fortunate are the merciful, for they shall find mercy.
Fortunate are those with pure hearts, for they shall see God.
Fortunate are those who work for peace; they shall be called children of God.
Fortunate are those who are persecuted for the cause of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Fortunate are you, when people insult you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you because you are my followers. Be glad and joyful, for a great reward is kept for you in God. For that is how this people persecuted the prophets who lived before you.
Indeed fortunate are those who cling to God despite hardships and difficulties in this world. Their reward is assured in heaven. That is why we celebrate today the feast of all saints. These are the countless people who silently observed God’s word in their lives and died in the odor of sanctity unknown to the world. They didn’t need such recognition anyway. They have the better prize… heaven. In a world bent on trivializing the afterlife and robbing us of our hope of a better future, today’s celebration reminds us that no matter how much heaven is being denied, we believe that there are people who have gone there. They may be nameless but we celebrate their good fate here on earth. And so candles and flowers have the right to take center stage today. We celebrate that which we hope we ourselves will achieve someday.
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