THIS WEEK’S READINGS
God Speaks to Families Through the Sunday Readings
John describes his vision: those who have endured the trials worship the Lamb.
Lord, this is the people that longs to see Your face.
1 John 3:1-3
We are God's children now.
Jesus teaches what it means to be happy.
Background on the Gospel Reading
Every year the Church recalls the example, witness and prayer of the holy women and men who have been identified by the Church as Saints. These saints are more than just role models; they are family members with whom we continue to share relation, in a bond of prayer, called the Communion of Saints. Every year when we celebrate this day, the Gospel we proclaim recalls for us Jesus' teaching about happiness, the Beatitudes. We quickly note in this reading that none of those Jesus names as “blessed” or “happy” are expected . . . the poor in spirit, the meek, the persecuted. Jesus' blueprint for happiness reflects little of what the world might call happiness.
What does Jesus mean when He uses the word “blessed?” This word is sometimes translated as “happy” or “fortunate” or “favored.” In other words, Jesus is saying that divine favor is upon those who are poor, who mourn, who are persecuted. This might have been welcome and surprising news to the crowds who heard Jesus that day.
The Beatitudes can be understood as a framework for Christian living. Because of this, it is natural that we proclaim this Gospel on the Feast of All Saints. Saints are people who lived the spirit of the Beatitudes as Jesus lived. On this day, we too are challenged to model our lives on the spirit and promises of the Beatitudes.
One of the great gifts of our Catholic tradition is remembrance of and prayer with the saints. The Church offers us an official canon, or list, of saints. On All Saints Day, we recall and pray with these saints. It is important to continue to tell these stories of saints and saintly people to our children so that they have ample models of people of faith for their own lives.
Together as a family, name and tell the story of favorite saints. Together prepare a list of some of the traits that these people have in common (generosity, courage, prayerfulness and so on). After preparing this list, read together today's Gospel, Matthew 5:1-12. Identify how the atti-tudes described in the Beatitudes are reflected in the lives of the saints and people you named.
Pray together as a family a Litany of the Saints. (For example, the leader prays, “St. Eliza-beth,” and the children are invited to reply, “Pray for us.”) Include in your list the saints and holy people you named in your discussion. Conclude by praying that your family will follow the example of these people as disciples of Jesus.