All Saints and All Souls is a time of the year that we set aside to remember all the saints, both near in our time and in the age’s past. It is a time to remember that we are all connected to the Christians that walked in Galilee and on the road to Jerusalem with Jesus, the saints that traveled with Moses on their journey to the “promise land”, the land of “milk and honey”. We remember our loved ones, grandparents, parents and family members’ that have died. We remember their blessings, their charms and the rough areas of their lives. And we look at those great leaders of the church, those who we have known personally and those we have only read about in history books.
The word “saints” refers to all Christians. On All Saints Day, the Church Universal, as well as the deceased members of a local congregation like St. Alban’s, family, loved ones and friends, are honored and remembered.
All Saints Sunday is also a time to remember those that have gone on and those also in our world today are full of hope, looking for the “promise land of milk and honey”, looking for a new heaven and a new earth, looking for the day when weeping will be turned into laughter, and looking for the day when wrongs will be righted and injustices dealt with. There has always been and still are those that are looking for judgment day and the day when weeping will be turned into laughter, sadness into joy, dishonesty replaced with truth and righteousness.
We are reminded this morning in our readings that there are injustices in this world. There are people that take advantage of other people. There are people that profit from the labors of others by pushing them down so they can have more. Sadly, this selfishness and greed results in human tragedy and inhumane activities like slavery. There has been and continues to be people that are sold into slavery. Recent statistics tell us that there are @ 30 million people in the world that are living in slavery, men, women and children, humans who are bought and sold, people working without compensation, child soldiers, forced marriages, and worldwide trafficking of children, and the sex trafficking of women, boys and girls that is so difficult to track because of massive amount of people involved. It’s detestable, extremely sad and ungodly. It is evil. There are millions more in our worlds that are suffering from malnutrition and extreme poverty.
Our first reading this morning from the 25th chapter of Isaiah is intended to be hopeful, promising restitution, deliverance and final victory for those who are faithful and waiting for the salvation of God, many times a hope deferred. (Isaiah 25:6-9) As confirmed from our Psalmist this morning:
“Wait for the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy. With God there is plenteous redemption for all Gods people.” (Psalm 130:6)
It’s with eyes of faith, hope for better times to come, and encouragement that we are reminded to recognize the true riches of our glorious inheritance among “the saints of all time”. (Eph. 1:11-23). Jesus message to them and to people of all time, past, present and future is this: “Blessed are the poor for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are the hungry now for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now for you will laugh. Blessed are you are discriminated against and excluded from others, you that are rejected as not important and of no value. Rejoice for your reward is great in heaven. Woe to you has received your consummation; you who are wealthy because you have cheated others. Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep”. (Luke 6:20-25)
We are told in the gospel of Luke that final justice will come and it will be in God’s hands, not ours. There will be judgment and retribution. I do not know how that will work, but we can do the best we can to make things right, to make this a better world for people to live in, but in the final outcome judgment is in the hands of God alone, not us.
Furthermore we are told in this passage of the gospel in Luke, “to love our enemies, to do good to those that hate us, to bless those that hate us, to bless those that curse us, and to pray for those that abuse us”.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Luke 6:20-31)
We are encouraged that “weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Ps. 30:5) And in Luke we are reminded with these words: “Blessed are those who weep now, for they will laugh later.” (Luke 6:23)
Saint Thomas Aquinas, one of the most read theologians of all time said this: “We are born with a spiritual hole in our hearts, a void that is intended to be filled with communion with God”. It is not intended to be filled with money, power or prestige, or anything else that takes away our thirst for God. “Woe to you who are full now for you will be hungry. Woe to you who are laughing now for you will mourn and weep”. (Luke 6:25)
“Blessed are those who are poor for yours is the kingdom of God and blessed are those who are hungry now for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh”.