Celebrate Sunday Mass - All Saints' Day - 11.1.20

Join us for Sunday Mass on the Solemnity of All Saints at the Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul

10/31/2020 (6 months ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

SUNDAY NOV 1. Solemnity of All Saints

Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...

I AM HAPPY TO OFFER EACH OF YOU AN INVITATION TO ONLINE SUNDAY MASS ON THE SOLEMNITY OF ALL SAINTS at the Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul, in the Diocese of Tyler, Texas. The Chapel is an extension parish of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The response to offering these beautiful liturgies online has been overwhelming. The readings from the Scriptures, as always, offer so much for us to reflect on. It is helpful to pray through them and reflect upon them.

It is rare that the Solemnity of All Saints falls on a Sunday. But, when it does, it supersedes the regular cycle of readings. It is a WONDERFUL Feast. In a sense, it is the celebration of our family. In our first reading, we will hear a passage from the Book of Revelation, written by the beloved disciple John. 

The beloved disciple John is the only of the four Evangelists who wrote the Gospels who did not die as a martyr. Having reached old age, he was imprisoned for his faith on the Island of Patmos, when he had this powerful vision recorded in the Book of Revelation, also called the Apocalypse. This, the last Book of the New Testament, is written in a literary style familiar to faithful Jews, called apocalyptic literature. It uses symbols to communicate eternal truth, much like the Book of Daniel in the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament.

 In the passage we will hear on Sunday, we enter the heavenly Liturgy with the saints who survived the great tribulation, because they stayed faithful to Jesus, the Lamb of God. We are called to be numbered among them some day. Will we remain faithful? Will we join them around the Throne of the Lamb? 

This same Apostle John wrote three letters to the early Christians. They appear in the back of the New Testament, before the Book of Revelation. In the excerpt from his first letter which will be our second reading, he reminds them, and us, that we are children of God.  Because of that, we are called to continue to grow in holiness by cooperating with grace, becoming more and more like Jesus. And, when He returns, we shall be like Him. This Hope is a treasure to be cherished and should call us to holiness. Do we hold this hope? Do we believe Jesus will return and we will be like Him?

In the Gospel we will hear proclaimed, Jesus, the new lawgiver, climbs the mountain of the Beatitudes to give this beautiful sermon on the New Law of Love. He speaks of those disciples who are blessed. The Greek word translated "blessed" can also be translated happy. Why are they blessed, or happy? Because they are becoming more and more like their Master, Jesus, and living the values of His Kingdom. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Faith tells us:  "The Beatitudes reveal the goal of human existence, the ultimate end of human acts: God calls us to his own beatitude. This vocation is addressed to each individual personally, but also to the Church as a whole, the new people made up of those who have accepted the promise and live from it in faith." (CCC #1719) 

The New Testament and the writings of the early Church fathers emphasize the vocation to beatitude or happiness. The path to happiness passes through the Cross and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. Through the Holy Spirit we are being set free from what St Paul calls the law of sin and death. (Rom. 8:2)

We are not only set free from, we are set free for - a new way of life as a Christian, a follower of the Christ. One who makes the Risen Jesus Christ present in the stuff of daily life, for us - and for others. The process of conversion in the life of a follower of Jesus involves the exercise of human freedom through the capacity of human choice. What we choose not only changes the world around us, it changes us. This is the heart of Catholic Moral Theology.

As we choose the Lord, as we grow in the life of the Holy Spirit, we begin to experience real happiness. The kind that does not disappear in struggle or become extinguished by difficulty. His Image is restored in us and we begin to grow into His Likeness.

Such a robust moral vision calls us to growth in virtue. The theological virtues of faith, hope and charity are infused in us through Baptism. The hinge or cardinal virtues are, in a proper sense, acquired through a lifestyle of living faith and participation in the sacramental life of the Church.

This vision of a dynamic Christian life involves the development of what were called habitus in Latin, from which we derive the word habit. Let's call them habits of holiness. They are habits of happiness as well. Because holiness is true happiness. These habits are powers to act with excellence which are formed within the Christian believer through our cooperation with grace. 

The Holy Spirit bestows upon us the spiritual gifts and empowers us to a lifestyle of conversion where we can cultivate the fruits of the Spirit, The Apostle Paul mentioned these fruits in the 5th chapter of the same letter to the Galatians from which is taken our second reading. "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." (Gal. 5:22)

There is a call to happiness planted within every human person as a seed. Beatitude or happiness finds its perfect expression in the teaching of Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. It was lived and demonstrated in His Sacred humanity, which is a model for all human beings. (Gaudium et Spes, Joy and Hope, #22) It is meant to be replicated in the life of each man and women who is baptized into His Church and learns to clothe themselves in virtue and live in beatitude, beginning now. 

May the Lord bless you, your families, the Church, and the Nations of the world on this Lord's Day.   

Deacon Keith Fournier
Dean of Catholic Online School
Chaplain of Your Catholic Voice Foundation

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