Greetings on this the Solemnity of All Saints
Readings: RV 7:2-4, 9-14; PS 24:1BC-2, 3-4AB, 5-6; 1 JN 3:1-3; MT 5:1-12A
Note: This is a Solemnity.
We celebrate all those who have gone to Heaven. We (the Militant Church) praise the Lord together with the Triumphant Church (Saints in Heaven).
We intercede together for those who suffer on this Earth or in Purgatory.
The 31st Sunday readings are replaced by this special day. The 32nd Sunday in Ordinary time continues next week.
One more note: In this piece I am writing with the male ‘he’ only. Please for the sake of my limited literary skills wherever I typed he will you please read He and She.
There was a certain town that had two neighborhoods named Taintwater and Sweetwater. These names came about because of the quality of water each neighborhood received. Sweetwater has a reservoir that pumped water from a sweet well. The water was clean, safe and crisp and a delight to drink. On the other hand, Taintwater had a reservoir that had tainted water from a tainted well. It too was clean and crisp and a delight to drink but it seemed there was an element in the water that was deadly! It wasn’t always deadly but sometimes deadly especially for the very young. It was fairly unpredictable when the deadly elements would be present in the water. Usually everything was OK. But sometimes, sometimes, it was very deadly.
So the Town had a meeting. People from the Sweetwater neighborhood came to the meeting. People from the Taintwater neighborhood came to the meeting.
There is a problem that needs to be solved. Taintwater has a reservoir that pumps from a tainted well. People, especially little children, are dying.
Some immediately cried out, ‘Shut the water off!’ Well, that would be devastating effects as there is only one piping system to Taintwater so then there would be no water at all.
Some cried out, ‘Connect the two systems!’ Well, the tainted water should not be commingled with the sweet water as the deadly elements would remain.
Some asked, ‘Why don’t we filter the water?’ The deadly elements are too small for any type of filtering system.
Others said, ‘Let us build a piping from the Sweetwater reservoir to the homes in the Taintwater side of town?’ Immediately people cried out that this would be way too expensive. We can’t spare our reservoir water there are too many of them.
Still Others said, ‘Let us build another reservoir and tap a new sweet water well and then cut over to this new source of water!’ The protests got even louder since that would be expensive and besides there is a limited amount of sweet water they claimed. We can’t share the source of sweet water because there isn’t enough to fill two reservoirs!
The cries got louder and louder, ‘Shut the water off! Shut the water off!’
The people of Taintwater knew if they shut the water off, that the risk of some dying would become instead a case of many more dying.
So the Taintwater people kept the tainted water flowing.
And the Sweetwater people hurled abuse at the people in Taintwater and said, ‘Let us see whether Elijah will come to save them.’
And the people continued to drink the tainted water in the Taintwater neighborhood.
And the little children continued to die.
Thankfully there were the Blessed who lived in Sweetwater and who lived in Taintwater.
Blessed Poor in Spirit
In Taintwater there was a man Blessed Poor in Spirit. He was happy because despite the difficulties the people experienced they are subject to Divine love. God has special care for them and especially those who drink from a tainted well and while we are in a sorry condition the presence of God is known to him so he continues on hoping for better days and better ways.
In Sweetwater there was a man Blessed Poor in Spirit. He was happy not because he is morally better than anyone else but because of God’s special care for them. In that special care, not by merit, but by the benevolent love of God. He wants others to feel such love as well but not because of moral change but recognition of from whom blessings come and the blessings need to come! Sweetwater Blessed Poor in Spirit prefers divine service to financial advantage. He lives with humility and detachment from wealth. He exercises voluntary poverty.
Blessed Are Those Who Mourn
In Taintwater there was a man who was Blessed Mourning. He mourned the dead even those of his own family. He mourned the pain of burying the young, so young. Sometimes they buried them in secret as to not offend those around them. So much shame. So much judgment to bear because they drank from tainted water. Like Rachel, He cried because he had so desired children that he considered himself dead without them.
In Sweetwater there was a man who was Blessed Mourning. He mourned to see evil reign on Earth. He mourned those who died, of course, but by degree distant, still it was a pain of mourning. He could see the reign of evil not in the water itself but in the souls of those who have no compassion to provide sweet water.
Blessed Are the Meek
In Taintwater there were men and women who were meek. They have limited resources and constraints of every kind. But they rely upon the Lord to see the true plight. They rely upon the Lord that He will see what others refuse to see which is the broken-hearted that think there is no option but to drink tainted water.
In Sweetwater there were men and women who were meek. They understood that the priority is to care for the poor and the poor should come first in preferential allocation of resources. Even in the judgment of the residents of Taintwater being gentle with them in a certain form of charity of heart.
Blessed Hunger and Thirst Righteousness
In Taintwater there was a man Blessed Hunger and Thirst Righteousness. He could see the need for change. The people of Taintwater are hungry and thirsty in the body and in the soul. They have needs sometimes too subtle for our limited capacity to understand. They are focused on the body alone and shelter their soul because it is too difficult to bear. The people of Taintwater can’t bear the cries of the soul.
In Sweetwater there was a man Blessed Hunger and Thirst Righteousness. He could see the need for change. The difficulty and the work isn’t in the obvious but in the subtle needs that cry even louder than thirst or hunger of the body alone. The people of Sweetwater cannot hear the cries of the soul.
In Taintwater there was a man Blessed Merciful. He could see the destructive effects of tainted water. But he was determined to pardon his neighbors of their mistakes. These were his friends and family. They drink because they think there are no other sources of water because, well, that is the case in a very real way.
In Sweetwater there was a man Blessed Merciful. He saw those who insisted in providing and drinking from the tainted water as his enemy. But even still, he knew the only answer was to love them and forgive them and look beyond the immediate to a future hope of sweet water for everyone.
Blessed Clean of Heart (in Spirit)
In Taintwater there was a man Blessed Clean of Heart. He saw the injustice and the hardships. He too suffered and witnessed the suffering of others. Yet he was not vengeful. He counselled his neighbors in Taintwater to be patient and understanding. ‘It is a lot to ask for help’, he would say, ‘Be patient, be patient of their distain’.
In Sweetwater there was a man Blessed Clean of Heart. He was loyal to God and His commandments. He would counsel Sweetwater that Love of Neighbor is greater than all the Laws and Prophets.
In Taintwater there was a man who was Blessed Peacemaker. He understood that peace is a many-sided concept involving total well-being. Peace cannot be with only Taintwater as a source but to shut off the tainted water is to seem as though the people of Taintwater are valueless.
In Sweetwater there was a man who was Blessed Peacemaker. He understood that peace is a many-sided concept involving total well-being. Peace cannot be with only shutting off tainted water as a source but a new source must be provided.
The Blessed of Sweetwater and Taintwater had better get together and work this out.
For My Evangelical Brothers – Beatitudes Echoed in Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans 12:13-21
From the Prayers of the Church
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all.
If possible, on your part, live at peace with all.
Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.
Rather, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.”
Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.
Peace be with you,