All Saints’ Day (Ordinary Time)
Exploring the Scripture
Jesus traveled throughout Galilee proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, teaching and healing. Great crowds have followed him; he has also chosen the first apostles. He climbs a mountainside and begins to teach. The Sermon on the Mount is the first of five major speeches that Matthew records in his Gospel. Some consider the Sermon on the Mount to be Matthew’s version of Jesus’ mission statement.
This first section includes what are often called the Beatitudes, statements of blessing. They also echo some of the same themes included in Luke 4, where Jesus announces to the synagogue that “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…” as he reads from the scroll of Isaiah.
There are nine statements of blessing through which Jesus clearly declares the purpose of God’s kingdom and the mission of those who would become his disciples. There is a special focus on blessing the marginalized and oppressed.
He also declares the eternity of God’s kingdom—both of the world in which we live and the world which is to come. Theologians have called this “the church militant, and the church triumphant.” The “church militant” refers to those people who have become Christ’s disciples and are engaged in the mission now. The “church triumphant” signifies all those who have gone before us and have entered their eternal rest.
To recognize the church triumphant, we celebrate All Saints’ Day on 1 November. All Saints’ Day is a tradition included in liturgical calendars for centuries. Simply put, on this day, we remember all the dedicated disciples throughout the years who have been faithful and instrumental in sharing the gospel message. It is a day to remember those disciples who have gone before us—specifically those have died in the past year. We reflect on how their lives have made our lives richer and how they have furthered the vision of God’s reign on earth. We focus on providing healing ministry to families and friends who have suffered the loss of loved ones, supporting them with prayers and pastoral care.
- The Sermon on the Mount is the first of five major speeches by Jesus, as written by Matthew in his Gospel.
- The Beatitudes list blessings mainly for marginalized and oppressed people as outlined by Jesus in Luke 4.
- All Saints’ Day is a traditional time in the Christian calendar to reflect on the valiant witness of disciples of Christ, those alive and those from the past.
Questions to Consider
- List the names of members and friends of the congregation who have died during the preceding 12 months. What is your testimony of the impact of their lives?
- Using the list of blessings expressed in the Beatitudes, how did those persons exemplify these types of blessings?
- How can we learn from their lives and grow in our personal discipleship?
- How can we express our love and care for families and friends who have lost loved ones?
- How have the testimonies of dedicated disciples throughout the centuries enriched your life and the life of your congregation?