St. Edmund Campion Parish, Maidenhead

All Saints, Year B (01 Nov 2015)

Victory to our God!

1. The first reading shows us happiness in a language that is, for us, unfamiliar. But here it is all about this what we really desire, about happiness, about our Destiny.

"I saw a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands".

All together, white, purified, in front of someone who loves them in a way that no one could imagine before. Listen how they rejoice:

"They shouted aloud, ‘Victory to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ And all the angels who were standing in a circle round the throne, surrounding the elders and the four animals, prostrated themselves before the throne, and touched the ground with their foreheads, worshipping God with these words, ‘Amen. Praise and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and strength to our God for ever and ever. Amen.’"

Then the observer wants to be part of the group: "One of the elders then spoke, and asked me, ‘Do you know who these people are, dressed in white robes, and where they have come from?’" (Sometimes we need to be suggested even about the questions to put. Do you know who those people are? That is, do you know how can you become one of them?) "I answered him, ‘You can tell me, my lord.’ Then he said, ‘These are the people who have been through the great persecution, and they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb.’"

This introduces us to the second point. The path to happiness is suffering. But not just suffering. Suffering with a meaning. Those are people who have suffered and have purified themselves associating their suffering to the suffering of Christ. How can the elder say that they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb? How can something become white after it has been washed in blood? It seems absurd. Actually for us it seems absurd as well to grow through suffering when we offer our suffering, when we accept to suffer, trusting that God will make something great with something that we consider to be rubbish. But it is like this!

Third. Happiness happens when we live our life, including what seems absurd, like pain, within a relationship with God. "Such are the men who seek your face, O Lord". If we seek His face wherever we are, He will make something new of our situation. Yesterday I was visiting an old priest with Parkinson’s. He said to me: 'God is joking with me, a bad joke this Parkinson’s. But I have in my mind another priest who was six months in his bedroom, sick, and he was a man who was very important for many people. But first he offered for months his pain in loneliness'.

Christ says to you today: "Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest."

And: "How happy are the poor in spirit;

theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Happy those who mourn:

they shall be comforted.

Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:

theirs is the kingdom of heaven."