Lesson from the book of Revelation
In those days, behold, I John, saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, who had it in their power to harm the earth and the sea, saying, Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads. And I heard the number of those who were sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand sealed, out of every tribe of the children of Israel; of the tribe of Juda, twelve thousand sealed; of the tribe of Ruben, twelve thousand; of the tribe of Gad, twelve thousand; of the tribe of Aser, twelve thousand; of the tribe of Nephthali, twelve thousand; of the tribe of Manasses, twelve thousand; of the tribe of Simeon, twelve thousand; of the tribe of Levi, twelve thousand; of the tribe of Issachar, twelve thousand; of the tribe of Zabulon, twelve thousand; of the tribe of Joseph, twelve thousand; of the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand sealed. After this I saw a great multitude which no man could number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and with palms in their hands. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation belongs to our God Who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb. And all the angels were standing round about the throne, and 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 honor and power and strength to our God forever and ever. Amen.
Continuation ✠ of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew
At that time, Jesus seeing the crowds, went up the mountain. And when He was seated, His disciples came to Him. And opening His mouth He taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor is spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth. Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God. Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men reproach you, and persecute you, and, speaking falsely, say all manner of evil against you, for My sake. Rejoice and exult, because your reward is great in heaven.
Homily by Fr. Carlos Zepeda
My dear friends, we recently celebrated Our Lord and King, in the feast of his Kingship. Today we celebrate the Saints, all of the Saints who dwell in the kingdom of our Lord. Men and Women who have preceded us there.
But you see, when we honor the Saints, we honor Christ Himself. Because every good deed that we honor in men or women, was done by Christ, and is like a gateway, through which we get to see more mysteries of Christ.
Let us contemplate Christ, a little bit, in his saints, by going over the beatitudes which he has left us in the Gospel:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
St. Alexius was a great example of this blessed poverty. A young man in his parents’ house, on the eve of his marriage he decides to give away all riches and luxuries, and to go out into the world poor, and become a beggar. He wished to attach his soul to nothing else, but the kingdom of heaven. He lived poor, as a beggar for many years, and after a while he came back to his parent’s house. In there, unrecognized, he lived as one of the servants, his room being under the stairs of the house. In there he died, poor, but very close to Christ. An heir to the Kingdom of Heaven.
And do we not see here Christ, abandoning his Father’s house, in order to live with us, the servants, to gain for us the Kingdom of Heaven?
Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land.
St. Francis Borgia was the most powerful man in Spain, a world empire, after the King. He decided also to become a Saint. It is recorded of Him, that he was extremely meek and humble, and that He would meditate 2 hours every day humbling himself. On certain occasion he lodged in a very poor room with another brother Jesuit. The other brother had a sickness, and had to spit frequently. In the darkness of the night, he spat continuously to the corner of the room, thinking he was spitting on a hole. It turns out he had been spitting on St. Francis face all throughout the night. The saint took it humbly, thinking he deserved that and worse.
An image of Christ, allowing himself to be despised and spat upon, by the rabble and the mob.
Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
When St. Ignatius of Loyola converted, he wished to do penance for his sins, in order to appease our Lord’s justice. He went into a cave, the cave of Manresa, where he submitted himself to the most serious penances. Chains, ropes, rigorous fastings, for many days. He wept bitterly for his sins, and even came to be tented by the devil, to despair, and distrust the forgiveness of his sins.
At the height of his sorrow, he started receiving visits from our Blessed Mother, and from our Lord. Eventually he received the assurance of having been forgiven, and from then on, he would weep very frequently, but his tears were tears of joy and consolation, and every pain became for him, another form to be united to Christ.
Can we not see here our Lord, weeping for our sins in the Garden of Olives, to the point of a most bitter agony?
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall have their fill.
Garcia Moreno was the president of Ecuador, in a time where Masonry had taken over most of the Governments of the world. This man cared not for his own safety, but was willing to sacrifice his life, his safety and peace, for the welfare of his nation and of the Church in his country. He openly forbade masonry, and made the country officially Catholic again.
The Enemies of the Church could not let this happen, and one day, while he was walking in one of the patios of a government building, a group of men with machetes came to him, and gave him a terrible blow in his stomach and chest. As he stumbled and fell on the ground, with his fingers and his own blood he wrote on the floor: “I die, but God does not die.”
Who cannot see in him, an image of our Lord, King of Kings, sacrificing his life, and promising to the very end, to come back at the end of the world, to judge the living and the dead?
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.
St. Gemma Galgani had exquisite care for her chastity. Being a beautiful girl, she would wear a modest dress, like that of a nun almost, to discourage men to court her. She wasn’t allowed to be a nun, even though she clearly had a vocation, and so she had to live her life, defending herself from all occasions. She wouldn’t even look at herself while attending to the care of her body. She had an infection in her body, and she lived with it, to the point that it almost caused her death, because she didn’t want to have a doctor inspect her. She gave instructions that after her death, her body would not be uncovered by anyone, for it belonged to Christ.
In exchange for her purity, she saw frequently our Lord and our Blessed Mother, and her guardian Angel was always visibly present to her in her room.
A beautiful window into the purity of our Lord’s soul, who never consented to be revealed to others, but only to pay for our sins, and how painful It must have been to Him, who without a doubt, was ever-present to all the court of heaven, and all the angels to Him!
Blessed are the peace-makers; for they shall be called the children of God.
King Wenceslaus was the son of a pagan mother. His brother was also pagan, and wicked. Although his brother became king, the people hated him so much because of his tyranny and wickedness, that King Wenceslaus was made king in his stead. Wenceslaus did not put his brother in prison, nor his mother, even though he knew they hated him, and plotted against Him.
He knew well they planned his murder, and even though he knew about it, he accepted his brother’s invitation to supper. In his meekness and kindness, his brother could not resolve to have him killed there, but repenting later on of his mercy, he sent the murderers to the Church where the King was praying, and had him murdered there.
His love was so great, that when he walked on the snow, his footsteps would be marked because the snow would melt at the touch of his feet.
A glimpse to our Lord’s heart, the peacemaker, the one who loved us so much, that he made for us a dinner, where our food is his body, and our drink his blood, and where we attain peace with God.
Blessed are they that suffer persecution, for justice’s sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
St. John of the Cross banded together with St. Theresa of Avila, to reform the order of the Carmelites, who had been relaxed and lost their fervor.
As they established the order with more severity and penance, by creating their own branch, the relaxed Carmelites feared that these measures would also be required of them, and through politics and intrigues, started persecuting them. They succeeded to put St. John in the prison of one of their monasteries, where he was kept for several months, tortured, starved, and in a small cellar. They hated him, because he was trying to improve their own order.
Later on, these sufferings caused St. John of the Cross to write some of his most beautiful books, and to reach a much deeper union with God.
Just like our Lord Jesus Christ suffered persecution and dead from the very same whom he was saving. And yet through these sufferings, he gained glory for Himself, and salvation for us.
And finally our Lord says: “Blessed are ye when they revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven”
And yes, we see this great crowd of men and women, who truly suffered, where reviled, they sin, and went to confession, they did penance. They feared, but carried on. They stumbled, but persevered in the road, becoming closer and closer to our Lord Jesus Christ, and now, all suffering for them is gone, there is no more pain, no more loneliness, no more decease, no more lies.
We see them smiling, laughing, certain, sure of their salvation, nothing can go wrong in their lives anymore, they have attained total, full and eternal victory, never to lose it again.
They can tell us, and we hear that promise, that truly their reward is very great in heaven, and my dear friends, as we hear them, and see them, and speak to them, remember, because these words are addressed to you as to them, remember and never forget this promises, these ways to heaven, because I tell you to, and I can tell you on behalf of God himself, that if you do this:
Your reward is very great in heaven!