So, it’s interesting that we have the same reading for the gospel that we had yesterday. Now there are tons of choices in here, and I wish the church in her wisdom would just simply say, these are the readings to do for all souls, but it doesn’t. I guess there’s good reason for that.
But when we hear the Jesus talk about the Beatitudes, we might not really get a sense of the word that’s used in Hebrew for blessed. So for example, when we look at the word blessed, if you were to look at the original Jerusalem Bible translation, blessed would be happy.
But really, the word is much more accurately translated, I think, as fortunate or lucky, in the sense that someone who is blessed is fortunate, has blessings from God. And that makes the Beatitudes something that are quite different when we think about them, if we hear them with the word lucky instead of blessed. Now they’re similar, okay? I’m not making a huge thing, but think about how they would sound if in fact we heard these things.
Lucky are the poor in spirit. Lucky are they who mourn. Lucky are the meek. Lucky are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Lucky are the merciful. Lucky are the clean of heart. Lucky are the peacemakers, and lucky are you when they persecute you for the sake of righteousness.
And lucky are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of me. Well, put in that context, it hardly seems to me that if you’re persecuted, you would be considered lucky. Or if you found yourself mourning the death of someone you loved, we would hardly say that is something that is lucky.
Why are these things lucky? Because that’s at the heart of what we celebrate on the Feast of All Souls. They’re lucky because when we’re in these circumstances, when we do these things, we are living a life with Jesus.
There’s a challenge, I think, in our current culture in the West in particular, not so much in other cultures, that we think everything depends on us. You know, if we do all these things, then God will do great things. And quite frankly, it’s the other way around.
Because God does great things, we then are able to do great things. Because God pours out the grace into our hearts, we’re able to do those things the gospel demands of us, feeding the hungry and giving people a place to live and working and acting for justice, giving people the things that they deserve as human beings with dignity.
But it’s not because we initiate all of that. It’s because God initiates that for us. And if we look around at our world, we see a world that is filled with brokenness. It’s everywhere. You know, if you want an idea of sin and evil in the world, we don’t need to look very far.
There’s all kinds of things that are breaking people’s lives, and we don’t even need to look any farther than what’s going on in the Middle East. Regardless of what one’s political opinion is on the situation there, as Christians we can all stand in agreement that when people die, it’s a bad thing.
I can’t remember who it was that said that every act of war is an act of failure as human beings, as a culture, as a society. We are broken. That’s what today is all about. Today was about all of those holy men and women who have ever lived that haven’t been recognized for their holiness. All saints of God, of which the number is, who knows? Lots and lots. At least I hope it’s lots and lots because for my sake, I don’t always do saintly and holy things. And so there we are.
But we are broken. We do face difficulties in life. People face injustice in the world. People face loss. And all of this comes because we don’t live as we should. We don’t live as God wants us to live. And so today is a day where we recognize that we are saved and that we need a Savior because our world is broken. We are broken. Jesus asked the Lord today to help us to see and to recognize His presence in our lives so that we in turn can witness to the power of God’s love to others.
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