As the USA prepares for the coming presidential election, we listen to Donald Trump and Joe Biden share their manifesto with us. What they will do for the people of this nation to improve the economy among many other promises. Could we also go ahead and say today Jesus is sharing with us His manifesto, or perhaps his vision statement?

This vision statement, by name Beatitudes, are statements of grace. To us women and men religious, they are pillars of our vocation.

Moses in the Old Testament received the commands at Mount Sinai and brought them down to the Israelites, they were to be a guide for the Israelites to help them reach the Promised Land. Moses’ Law had a negative statement, they were negatively phrased, and they were not affirmative. They started with ….”Thou shall not” 

Today we see Jesus as our new Moses who goes to the mountain and speaks to us about the beatitudes/pillars of our vocation. Jesus’ beatitudes are positively phrased. They are declarations of God’s grace. They talk of the present, this kingdom of God is happening now.

These pillars are calling us to be witnesses and hold in prayers those who live in poverty, the innocent victims of shooting and war; the many people mourning lives cut short by the Covid19; those persecuted for their beliefs; those who are facing death penalties; those suffering at the border, etc. We note in today’s Gospel that none of those Jesus names as “blessed” or “happy” are expected or seen as so in the eyes of the world. The poor in spirit, the meek, the persecuted. Jesus’ blueprint for happiness reflects little of what the world might call happiness. What the world sees as tragic or empty, Jesus sees as blessed.

Jesus is inviting us to live these pillars as he lived them, for they are the source of true joy, and a vision of where true happiness lies. If we just take a minute to honestly reflect and think about what we term as happiness to us? What gives us fulfillment? What gives us satisfaction?

Jesus, in words and action, lived these virtues of humility, mourning, gentleness, peacefulness name them, and He is encouraging us to live in this spirit of beatitude since it is a life of integrity and honesty, and it is indeed a blessed life.  All who live according to his way of life are – and will be – richly blessed. As we live with difficulties, let us think of the affirmation that Jesus gives to what is fragile, weak, and overlooked in the eyes of the world. May we hear him say, ‘We are blessed’ to us, because of how we live and respond in His spirit.

These beatitudes are also the “how-to” of sainthood. I believe the Feast Day of All Saints, is intended by the church to honor not only those the church has declared as saints but also to honor the memory of countless unknown and uncanonized Saints who have no feast days. These are our brothers and sisters, our parents, our neighbors and Sisters in our communities that the higher church hierarchy didn’t recognize.
As we celebrate All Saints Day, the church reminds us that the Saints are our role models. They teach us by their lives that Christ’s holy life of love, mercy, and unconditional forgiveness can, with the grace of God and prayer, be lived by ordinary people of all walks of life and at all times.
St. Teresa of Avila says to us, Recharge your spiritual batteries every day by prayer, namely, listening to God and talking to Him

May we strive to align ourselves with the pillars of our vocation/beatitudes and whenever we find them difficult, just remember what Matthew says to us today, Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” In other words, it’s all worth it in the end.