One of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”

he said, “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.

*** 1st Reading ***

Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14

 I saw another angel

Ascending from the sunrise, carrying the seal of the living God, and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels empowered to harm the earth and the sea,  Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads.”

 Then I heard the number of those marked with the seal: a hundred and forty-four thou­­sand from all the tribes of the people of Israel:

 fter this I saw a great crowd, impossible to count, from every nation, race, people and tongue, standing before the throne and the Lamb, clothed in white, with palm branches in their hands,  and they cried out with a loud voice, “Who saves but our God who sits on the throne and the Lamb?”

 All the angels were around the throne, the elders and the four liv­ing creatures; they then bowed before the throne with their faces to the ground to wor­ship God.  They said,

Amen. Praise, glory, wisdom, thanks, honor, power and strength to our God forever and ever. Amen!

 t that moment, one of the elders spoke up and said to me, “Who are these people clothed in white, and where did they come from?”  I answered, “Sir, it is you who know this.”

The elder replied, “They are those who have come out of the great persecution; they have washed and made their clothes white in the blood of the Lamb.

 

Ps 24:1b-2, 3-4ab, 5-6

Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

 

** 2nd Reading ***

1 John 3:1-3

 

**** Gospel ****  

Matthew 5:1-12a  

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain. He sat down and his disciples gathered around him. Then he spoke and began to teach them:

Fortunate are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Fortunate are those who mourn; they shall be comforted. Fortunate are the gentle; they shall possess the land. Fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.

Fortunate are the merciful, for they shall find mercy. Fortunate are those with pure hearts, for they shall see God. Fortunate are those who work for peace; they shall be called children of God.

Fortunate are those who are persecuted for the cause of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Fortunate are you when people insult you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you because you are my followers. Be glad and joyful, for a great reward is kept for you in God.

 

 Gospel Reflection:

Communion of Saints

A question that religious sometimes encounter is: "How many members are there in your Congregation?" One of my companions has a ready-made answer: "7,000+ members." If the answer surprised the one who asked, who might, therefore, wear an incredulous look, my friend would explain: "Yes, we are 7,000+. There are around 4,000 in heaven, and 3,000 here on earth." And, that is the truth! We must necessarily count every one of the souls gone before us, be they members of our biological or religious families or faith communities. They continue to live and relate to us; they go on exercising their ministry of intercession for us. The solemnity of the Communion of Saints reminds us that we belong to a very large family, part of whom are in heaven and continue to be members of the living body of Christ. If we profess so in our Creed, we must make it a reality we relate to in our daily life as well.