Today we gather with Christians all around the world who will light candles and remember loved ones who have died over the last year. We do this because November 1st, (Friday), has for at least 12 centuries been All Saints Day. This is the day Christians have remembered all those who firstly died as martyrs for the faith, and then all those great people of faith (saints) who the rest of us look up to and are inspired by. From the twelfth or thirteenth centuries All Souls Day was held on November 2 to remember all people of faith. So today we remember all those who have gone before us, who have paved the way for us, and especially those we have loved and who loved us. We honour their memory, and we give thanks for the ways they have blessed us over our life times. As we do this we also take another step in letting them go trusting that they now rest in God, as they have always.
Our gospel reading today reminds us that we are all held by God. When we take the time to remember that we become blessed. The poor, the hungry, those who weep and those who are persecuted for their faith, these people Jesus was talking to, these have to let go of all their self sufficiencies in a way the wealthy, full, happy, safe and secure never have to. And that is most of us most of the time. On this day and in this reading we are reminded that we will all die and none of that wealth or self made happiness or security will count for anything. In the end all we can ever count on is that we are held by God in love, just as those we love are held.
So as we remember those who have loved us and we seek to honour them in how we live our lives, I wonder how we understand Jesus "blessing" in this reading? I wonder how you have truly experienced Jesus blessing in your life and where you find yourself in the gospel reading today? Finally what does Jesus offer you this All Saints Day as you remember and give thanks?