A reading from the Book of Revelation (Revelation 7:2-4.9-14)
I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues.
I, John, saw another angel ascend from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads.” And I heard the number of the sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand sealed, out of every tribe of the sons of Israel. After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.” Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where they have come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm24:1-2.3-4ab.5-6(R.cf.6a)
R/. These are the people who seek your face, O Lord.
The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,
the world, and all who dwell in it.
It is he who set it on the seas;
on the rivers he made it firm. R/.
Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who shall stand in his holy place?
The clean of hands and pure of heart,
whose soul is not set on vain things. R/.
Blessings from the Lord shall he receive,
and right reward from the God who saves him.
Such are the people who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob. R/.
A reading from the first Letter of Saint John (1 John 3:1 -3)
We shall see God as he is.
Beloved: See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
The word of the Lord.
ALLELUIA Matthew 11:28
Alleluia. Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, says the Lord. Alleluia.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 5:1-12a)
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.
At that time: Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Blessed people, as described in the beatitude, are all around us. They are among our family members and in our neighbourhood. They are not super human beings specially created with special virtues but ordinary, simple persons like you and me. They are part of the huge crowd of humanity on which Jesus looks, sees beyond their predicament and pronounces them blessed. The saints in heaven, whom we honour today, give us evidence that it is possible to spend our lives being faithful to God and charitable towards each other. They model for us Gospel living and dying to self so that one day we can share in the kingdom of God’s everlasting glory. Having lived the beatitudes, which many today think is impossible, they now dwell in the land of inheritance” “the kingdom of heaven” where they “see God” and know the fullness of what it means to be called “blessed”. They beckon us today to heed what Jesus teaches in the Gospel “Blessed are you… your reward will be great in heaven.”