Today is the Feast of All Saints, a day when Christians around the world remember our holy ancestors in faith. We often think of the saints like superheroes: supernatural people who lived magical lives, radically different from our own. However, our readings today remind us that the call to holiness is extended not to a select few, but to all people, including you and me. As we befriend our ancestors in faith, the holy people who have lived in every generation, we find that they are not magical know-it-alls, but real human beings who sought to live in relationship with God in challenging times throughout history.
Our scriptures today reflect our deep human longing for connection with God’s love, as we sing the Psalm refrain “Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.” This yearning for Love is shared by people “from every nation, race, people and tongue.” God too longs for us, desires for us to be in right relationship with God, and with one another.
When Jesus sits on that mountain side and proclaims that the most downtrodden, reviled, heartbroken, and foolish in the community are to receive transformation, justice, hope, and love in God, he prophetically reveals God’s desire to restore humanity to right relationship. God is yearning for connection with humanity not in our perfection, but in our brokenness and desire for justice and the transformation of the world. It is precisely to the most marginalized that God draws near in love. The saints we celebrate today are the ones who, like God, drew near to the wounds of our world, and sought God’s face in the midst of their own context.
The second reading proclaims that by our faith we have become children of God, and will be like God, as we see God face to face. We are all called and empowered to be like our ancestors in faith, and to be like God – seeking to accompany God in drawing near to those who the world reviles, to be agents of transformation and hope.
What would it look like for us to seek out God’s presence in our own context? To whom should we draw near in love? What prophetic actions must we take today? Who might we need to proclaim as blessed in our world today?
As I ask that final question, I find these words rise up:
Blessed are they who worry how they will feed their children,
they will eat their fill.
Blessed are the sick, the isolated, and the afraid,
they will be healed and made whole.
Blessed are the frontline workers in hospitals and stores,
they will be safe and respected.
Blessed are those who have been killed by the police,
they will receive justice.
Blessed are the abused,
they will be believed.
Blessed are the protesters and activists, yearning for change,
they will be heard and answered.
Blessed are the immigrants and refugees,
they will be welcomed home.
Blessed are all living things on this earth,
they will be restored to fullness of life.
Blessed are the brokenhearted
they will know compassion.
Blessed are the demonized, the disposable, and the despised,
they will be embraced in love.
Blessed shall we be if we follow
the prophetic way of Jesus in our world,
seeking God in every face and being instruments of grace;
our joy and hope will spring forth and transform the world.
~ JoAnn Melina Lopez, Campus Minister for Liturgy