The New and Eternal Jerusalem

Week of November 1, 2015

On this day we celebrate all of the saints.  We recall the incredible images of heaven.  We retell the stories of the joy that it will be to live in the presence of God for all eternity.  Our minds get transfixed on visions of angels.  On this day we gather to lift up those who have gone before us and lived faith in a way that brought out the best of humanity and overcame obstacles by trusting in grace.  From the martyrs who shed their blood, to the wise and simple who lived austere lives, there are many doorways to God.  There is not one avenue to sainthood.  Some denounced riches, others began religious orders. Still others worked as missionaries.  All are equal in importance, all are equal in leading others to God.  From theologians to peasants, no one escaped God’s goodness.

In the Preface of the Roman Missal on this day, we hear these words: “For today by your gift we celebrate the festival of your city, the heavenly Jerusalem, our mother, where the great array of our brothers and sisters already give you eternal praise.”   On this day we celebrate with the saints who are giving God eternal praise.  We are invited to be like them as we celebrate Eucharist and gather to give God praise.  We realize we are connected to them as brothers and sisters, for they too walked on this earth, they too sinned, they too exalted God above all things.  If we are to be like them, we are to realize our purpose is to take each day and give God praise.  Parents do that by loving their children.  Children do that by listening and honoring their parents.  It is a beginning point, we are to give God praise.  The Baltimore Catechism put it in a way that sounded like this: we were created to love and serve God.  That is our purpose, that is our destiny.

On this day we recall our original passion and desire to give God eternal praise. In doing this we join the festival of the new and eternal Jerusalem.

Saints of the Lord, bless the Lord,

Rev. John J. Ouper