ALL SAINTS November 1, 2008
All Saints may be transferred to Sunday, November 2.
Psalm 34:1-10, 22 (9)
1 John 3:1-3
TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
November 2, 2008 (Lectionary 31)
or All Saints may be observed.
Psalm 43 (3)
1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37 (8
1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
1a. CONTEXT: Matthew 5:1-12
This is the Gospel appointed in the Roman and Sarum Missals, with the
second half of verse 12 added. It is, of course, the beginning of the
Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), including the so-called Beatitudes
(5:3-11). The parallel passage in the Third Gospel (Luke 6:20-23) has only
four Beatitudes, and none of these is identical with any one of Matthew's
nine. It will be convenient to notice these differences in the Analysis
below, rather than to consider them here. The few parallels found in the
Coptic Gospel of Thomas will also be noted in the Analysis.
The Beatitudes cannot be regarded as a catalogue of virtues: "The
describe the humble men [and women!] of pure heart who are persecuted
unjustly because of their love of righteousness and sorrow over the evil of
the world. They present us a picture of that oppressed class of pious Jews
from who our Lord and the earliest disciples sprang--the 'saints' of the
New Covenant." (M.H. Shepherd)
1b. TEXT: Matthew 5:1-12
The Sermon on the Mount
5:1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons  of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
 5:9 Greek huioi; see preface
 5:22 Some manuscripts insert without cause
 5:22 Greek says Raca to (a term of abuse)
 5:22 Greek Gehenna; also verses 29, 30
 5:26 Greek kodrantes, Roman copper coin (Latin quadrans) worth about 1/64 of a denarius (which was a day's wage for a laborer)
 5:37 Or the evil one
 5:40 Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin
 5:47 Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters
1iδων δε τους οχλους ανεβη εις το ορος: και καθισαντος αυτου προσηλθαν αυτω οι μαθηται αυτου: 2και ανοιξας το στομα αυτου εδιδασκεν αυτους λεγων, 3μακαριοι οι πτωχοι τω πνευματι, οτι αυτων εστιν η βασιλεια των ουρανων. 4μακαριοι οι πενθουντες, οτι αυτοι παρακληθησονται. 5μακαριοι οι πραεις, οτι αυτοι κληρονομησουσιν την γην. 6μακαριοι οι πεινωντες και διψωντες την δικαιοσυνην, οτι αυτοι χορτασθησονται. 7μακαριοι οι ελεημονες, οτι αυτοι ελεηθησονται. 8μακαριοι οι καθαροι τη καρδια, οτι αυτοι τον θεον οψονται. 9μακαριοι οι ειρηνοποιοι, οτι αυτοι υιοι θεου κληθησονται. 10μακαριοι οι δεδιωγμενοι ενεκεν δικαιοσυνης, οτι αυτων εστιν η βασιλεια των ουρανων. 11μακαριοι εστε οταν ονειδισωσιν υμας και διωξωσιν και ειπωσιν παν πονηρον καθ υμων [ψευδομενοι] ενεκεν εμου: 12χαιρετε και αγαλλιασθε, οτι ο μισθος υμων πολυς εν τοις ουρανοις: ουτως γαρ εδιωξαν τους προφητας τους προ υμων.
Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 26th edition
1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart;
The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition
1975, United Bible Societies, London
2. ANALYSIS: Matthew 5:1-12
Matthew 5:1-2 - Idon de tous ochlous anegei eis to oros, kai kathisantos
autou proselthan auto hoi mathetai autou - This introductory passage with
its reference to the mountain is a creation of the Evangelist some brief
introductory phrase, naming the disciples as the audience, doubtless
existed in Q (cf. Luke 6:20).
5:3-11 - makarioi: "Blessed" (KJV,RSV; "blest" NEB) is a better one-word
equivalent for makarios than "happy" (Phillips,et alia). Epicurus uses it
for the happiness enjoyed by the gods, free from human cares and
suffering; Plato uses it for the dead who are specially venerated, and
Aristotle applies it only to the gods. It occurs commonly in "beatitudes" in
non-Biblical Greek, in epitaphs, eulogies, and brief panegyrics. There are
many beatitudes in the Old Testament, principally in the Psalms and in the
Wisdom Literature; all have the typical form familiar to us from the
Sermon on the Mount. Many beatitudes are also found in the New
Testament, apart from those in Matthew 5:1-12 and the parallels in Luke.
In almost all of these makarios refers to the "distinctive religious joy"
that rightfully belongs to those who "share in the salvation of the kingdom
of God" (F. Hauck, in TDNT). In the Pauline letters we may mention Romans
4:7f.; 14:22; and 1 Cor. 7:40; the Book of Revelation has no less than seven:
1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7,14.
The impressive form of beatitudes makes them ideally suited to the
expression of sacred paradoxes (cf. 1 Peter 3:14,4:14; Rev. 14:13). The
familiar Beatitudes that introduce the Sermon on the Mount are,
fundamentally, statements "about those who may regard themselves as
citizens of the kingdom of God. The power of the statements lies in their
reversal of all human values" (Hauck). The Lucan Beatitudes (Luke 6:20f.)
are promises of eschatological consolation to those in certain concrete
circumstances: the poor, the hungry, the weeping, and the hated;
corresponding threats ("woes") to the rich, the sated, and the laughing
appear in Luke 6:24f. In Matthew the connection between right conduct and
heavenly reward is emphasized, and the "woes" are omitted.
5:3 - Makarioi hoi ptochoi to pneumati, hoti auton estin he Basileia ton
ouranon - As indicated above, Luke's version (Makarioi hoi ptochoi, hoti
humetera estin he Basileia tou Theou) is more primitive; it is an address
TO the poor, not a statement about them, and it has in view not the poor
"in spirit" but those actually in want (contrast Luke 6:24 - ouai humin tois
plousiois), By adding to pneumati Matthew has introduced a unifying
thought: those who are "poor in spirit" are the pious in Israel (M'Neile). Cf.
James 2:5, where tous ptochous to kosmo are further defined as plousious
en pistei. Matthew's basileia to ouranon may reflect Jewish reluctance to
use the Divine Name: the usage is in any case peculiar to Matthew, who
has the phrase 32 times. Whether in this phrase or in the corresponding
Basileia tou Theou (4 times in Mt., 15 in Mk., 32 in Lk.), basileia should
probably be rendered "sovereignty" or "kingship." [A detailed treatment of
this word can be found in the Theological Dictionary of the New
Testament, vol. 1, pp. 579-590.] Logion 54 of the Coptic Gospel of Thomas
reads like a conflation of Matthew and Luke: Blessed are the poor, for
yours is the kingdom of heaven.
5:4 - makarioi hoi penthountes, hoti autoi parakletheisontai - Luke 6:21b
makarioi hoi klaiontes nun, hoti gelasete. Luke's insertion of nun here and
in 21a shows that the verbs are strictly future (M'Neile). The contrasting
Lucan "woe" (6:25b) runs, ouai, hoi gelontes nun, hoti pentheisete kai
5:5 - makarioi hoi praeis, hoti autoi kleronomeisousin tein gen - This
Beatitude is based on Psalm 36 : 11 - hoi de praeis kleronoomeisousin
gen. Praeis expresses the attitude of the "poor in spirit" toward God.
5:6 - makarioi ho peinontes kai dipsontes tein dikaiosynen, hoti autoi
chortasthesonta - Once more the Lucan version is more direct and
concrete: makarioi hoi peinontes, hoti chortasthesesthe - A debased
version of this Beatitude appears in Logion 69b of the Coptic Gospel of
Thomas: "Blessed are they who are hungry, that the belly of him who
desires may be satisfied."
5:7 - makarioi hoi eleimones, hoti autoi eleithesontai - MERCY, like
righteousness, is a divine attribute, and ,hence, a special aspect of the
"poor in spirit." As in the case of righteousness, those who practice mercy
shall receive it in the coming kingdom. Cf. Prov. 17:5; Jas. 2:13; 1 Clem.
5:8 - makarioi hoi katharoi tei kardia, hoti autoi ton theon opsontai - As
C.S. Lewis pointedly says, Only the pure in heart would WANT to see God."
No one else could bear it. This Beatitude is, of course, related to the
foregoing: those who inherit the Kingdom of Heaven will be those who see
5:9 - makarioi hoi eienopoioi, hoti autoi huioi theou klethesontai - God Is
the "author of peace and over of concord" (Book of Common Prayer); in his
Kingdom those who have sought to establish peace in the world will be
revealed as God's sons, because they share this nature.
5:10 - makarioi hoi dediogmenoi eneken dikaiosynes, hoti auton estin he
basileia ton ouranon - The Coptic Gospel of Thomas has (Logion 69a) -
Blessed are those who have been persecuted in their hearts; these are they
that have known the Father in truth. This has an almost Johannine ring: to
know the Father is to have eternal life (Jn. 17:3), which is the Johannine
equivalent of the Kingdom of Heaven.
5:11 - makarioi este hotan oneidisosin humas kai dioxosin kai eiposin pan
poneron kath' humon [pseudomenoi] eneken emou - The Lucan parallel seems
more developed in this instance: makarioi este hotan misesosin humas hoi
anthropoi kai hotan aphorisosin humas kai oneidisosin kai ekbalosin to
onoma humon hos poneron eneka tou huiou tou anthropou - As with the
Logion 69b (see above) the Gospel of Thomas seems to have lost whatever
point this Beatitude may have originally had (Logion 68): "Blessed are you
when you are hated and persecuted, and no place will be found where you
have been hated and persecuted."
5:12 - chairete kai agalliasthe, hoti ho misthos humon polus en tois
ouranois outos gar edioxan tous prophetas tou pro humon - Compare
Romans 5:3f.; Jas. 1:2; 1 Peter 1:6,4:13; Rev. 22:12 (this last may be
understood as a threat as well as a promise).
The idea of reward is very prominent in the teaching of Jesus; a reward
may be represented as a sort of quid pro quo affair: cf. 5:7 above, and 6:14;
10:32,41f.; 25:29; or it may be offered as a compensation for loss (10:39).
To these traditional and somewhat crude quantitative notions Jesus added
a new qualitative dimension: Service is a duty and does not merit reward
(Lk. 17:9f.) and moreover, even the opportunities for service are given by
God (25:14-46). The idea of "reward" is thus replace by the concept of
free, unmerited grace, bestowed upon all equally (20:1-16). The Kingdom
of Heaven belongs to all those for whom it is prepared (20:23; 25:34),
not only for those whose exemplary virtue or piety has made them fit to
enter it: the only person who is fit for the Kingdom is the King.
3. STRATEGY: The Beatitudes
All Saints' Day is a time to remind people of the original meaning of
"saint," that is ANY PERSON--MAN,WOMAN OR CHILD--WHO HAS BEEN
SANCTIFIED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD. In both the Olt and New Testaments the
word "saints" refers to all the people of God, not just to some special
class of believers distinguished for piety or probity. It is true, of course,
that some saints are in various ways more "noteworthy" than others, and
because of this they may provide us with more obvious examples to
"follow...in all virtuous and godly living" (Book of Common Prayer). Such
specially noteworthy saints need not be discovered only in the Bible or in
the first Christian centuries.
Newer Calendars adopted by several Churches include
the names of saints closer to our own time whose lives amply manifest the
continuing activity of the Holy Spirit in the Church. The biographies of
some of these men and women could be profitably studied by a whole
congregation or, at least, by small groups; an All Saints' Day sermon might
include brief summaries of the careers of one or two of the most
remarkable: from the calendar of the Episcopal Church the lives of Samuel
Isaac Joseph Schereschewski and John Coleridge Patteson are of special
interest in view of their connection with the missionary enterprise in the
"Third World'" (they were respectively bishops of China and Melanesia).
The LBW calendar in the newly formed Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America (merging the ALC, AELC and LCA) includes names like those of
Nicholas Copernicus and Leonhard Euler(May 24) . This is a salutary and
much needed reminder that scientists were and are Christians, including
astronomers and mathematicians of the first rank.
Aland, Kurt. SYNOPSIS QUATTUOR EVANGELIORUM. Stuttgart: Deutsche
Bibelstiftung, 1976. 9th Ed. The Coptic Gospel of Thomas is given in an
appendix (in Latin, German, English).
Bultmann, Rudolf. THE HISTORY OF THE SYNOPTIC TRADITION, transl. John
Marsh. Oxford: Blackwell, 2nd ed., 1968.
Johnson,S.H. "The Gospel of Matthew," in THE INTERPRETER'S BIBLE,vol. 7.
New York: Abingdon, 1951.
Kittel, Gerhard,ed. "Basileia" and "Makarios" in the THEOLOGICAL
DICTIONARY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, transl. Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Grand
Rapids,MI: Eerdmans, 1963.
M'Neile, A.H. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW. London: MacMillan,
Shepherd,M.H. THE OXFORD AMERICAN PRAYER BOOK COMMENTARY. New
York: Oxford University Press, 1950.
5. MUSIC SUGGESTIONS
There is a great abundance of fine hymnody appropriate for All Saints' Day.
Foremost (and most familiar) of these is FOR ALL THE SAINTS (HB 287,
LBW 174; tune- SINE NOMINE by Ralph Vaughan Williams); also excellent is
WHO ARE THESE LIKE STARS APPEARING? (HB 286) which has a parallel in
the Norwegian hymn WHO IS THIS HOST ARRAYED IN WHITE? (LBW 314).
FOR ALL YOUR SAINTS, O LORD (LBW 176; HB 279)
LET SAINTS ON EARTH IN CONCERT SING ( HB 526);
O WHAT THEIR JOY AND THEIR GLORY MUST BE (LBW 337)
For a children's hymn, I SING A SONG OF THE SAINTS OF GOD (HB 293)
is hard to beat.
Exegete: Eugene V.N. Goetchius, PhD,ThD
Exegete: Eugene Van Ness Goetchius, Ph.D., Th.D. was
Professor Emeritus of the New Testament and Biblical
Languages, and Lecturer in Greek at Episcopal Divinity
School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His publications
include: The Language of the New Testament.
New York: Charles Schribner's Sons, 1965.
6. FURTHER READING
November reflection usually brings to mind America’s Thanksgiving traditions and
the early arrival of Pilgrims in Plymouth, MA (only a year after slaves began to be brought into the New World). A recent volume of writings on American saints and pilgrims does a wonderful job of rounding out our picture of sainthood today:
A Year with American Saints
By Scott Cady and Christopher Webber
Church Publishing Inc., 2006.
Here, in a volume of 758 pages, Rev. Scott Cady of Manchester, CT, and Christopher L. Webber of Sharon, CT, have profiled a broad and inclusive cross section of American pilgrims of the faith, some very famous, others less well-known men and women from all periods of America's history and all major Christian faith traditions. From the pre-revolutionary era to the twentieth century, their accomplishments and spiritual journeys are examples of perseverance, courage, and holiness. From Robert Hunt, first chaplain of the Jamestown colony in Virginia, who gave pastoral care and support to settlers who were far from home and struggling with disease and hardship, to Rosa Parks, whose quiet, dignified resistance to segregation signaled a dramatic change in the Civil Rights movement, A Year with American Saints encompasses the joy and drama of the Christian story in America.
The book is chronologically arranged throughout the year with one person described for each day of the year. Descriptions include the person’s denomination, birth and death dates, biographic summary and a selected reading. Two help indexes list the saints by their birth dates, and alphabetically by name. For an excerpt, see Fr. Webber’s excellent website-→ http://clwebber.com/works/saints.php
Three other brief and older books on "saints" in various senses of the word--
both ancient and modern--are useful in preparation for this Feast:
Forrest, Diane. THE ADVENTURERS. Nashville: Upper Room, 1983.
Subtitled "ordinary people with special callings," this brief book
fleshes out the meaning of "sainthood" through the exciting real life stories of nine adventurous people: Francis of Assisi, William Wilberforce, Elizabeth Fry, Father Damien, Mary Slessor, Harriet Tubman, Eric Liddell, Bob McClure and Mother Teresa. This slim volume is vividly illustrated with vivid sketches and portraits and extremely readable. For this reason, it could be used as a brief adult study series or
even more appropriately with elementary school children in search of role
models, AKA "superheroes."
Newland, Mary Reed. THE SAINT BOOK. Minneapolis: Seabury, 1979.
Although aimed at both adults and children, this book has a much more
"hagiographic" tone than THE ADVENTURERS. It is in the best sense from
the genre of "lives of the saints." Even the author's excellent drawings
seem more drawn from traditional icons of martyrs and saints, monks and
nuns. Rather than sketch out the adventures of noteworthy Christians, the
author has selected more than fifty important saints from the history of
the church catholic and the nearly 200 in the liturgical calendars, and
adding a few others for good measure.
The calendar begins with January 4th (Elizabeth Seton) and continues
through December 23rd, John of Kanty. Along the way one encounters the
richness and diversity of church history in the lives of the people of God.
This book makes especially good reading for Protestants, who may be
familiar with Anselm and Teresa, but have only the vaguest knowledge of
St. John Vianney or Anthony of Padua --even though one may live within
walking distance of a parish by those names. But the real strength of this
book is in its clear, concise approach and the fact that Mary Newland is
able to cover so many lives so beautifully in less than 200 pages.
Finally (though hard to find these days), is Glenway Westcott’s CALENDAR OF SAINTS FOR UNBELIEVERS. New Haven: Leete's Island Books,1932 (1976).
Much more whimsical in tone than the above, this delightful
slip-cased volume is both entertaining and illuminating, for it contains
virtually every saint (real or imaginary) who ever walked the face of the
earth. Replete with colorful legends, it is not (as the title warns) for the
credulous among us! A healthy antidote to saint-worship and
relic-mongering! (May be out of print: try writing Leete's Island Books,
Box 1131, New Haven, CT 06505 for more information.)
LEXEGETE © 2008