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Notes for All Saints Day – Matthew 5:1-12

by pastorjuhl ~ October 27th, 2008

All Saints Day extends back to the 4th century in the Eastern Communion. It is celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost. The Eastern feast commemorates all holy martyrs. In the 7th century the Western Communion moved the feast to May 13. By the 9th century it moved to November 1 and extended to include all the saints.

A saint’s life is nothing more than the beatitudes in action. (Pius Parsch, “The Church’s Year of Grace” Vol. 5, page 320)

David P. Scaer, “The Sermon on the Mount”

The Beatitudes are markedly Christological, but not in an isolated sense. They are descriptions both of Jesus and of those who have been joined by Jesus’ Father to His kingdom.

We are blessed becaue Christ was blessed by His Father. He is the fulfillment of the Beatitudes. Because Christ was all these things, we are given reward.

One cannot separate Christ and the Church. They are bound together.

In Matthew’s Gospel blessedness refers to the condition or state of an individual who has been favorably accepted by God and has received His divine approval.

Extra-Biblical Witnesses

There be nine things which I have judged in mine heart to be happy, and the tenth I will utter with my tongue: A man that hath joy of his children; and he that liveth to see the fall of his enemy: Well is him that dwelleth with a wife of understanding, and that hath not slipped with his tongue, and that hath not served a man more unworthy than himself: Well is him that hath found prudence, and he that speaketh in the ears of them that will hear: O how great is he that findeth wisdom! yet is there none above him that feareth the Lord. But the love of the Lord passeth all things for illumination: he that holdeth it, whereto shall he be likened? The fear of the Lord is the beginning of his love: and faith is the beginning of cleaving unto him. (Sirach 25:7-12)

Thou shalt not commit fornication: thou shalt not commit adultery: thou shalt not be a corrupter of youth. Thou shalt not let the Word of God issue from thy lips with any kind of impurity. Thou shalt not accept persons when thou reprovest any one for transgression. Thou shalt be meek: thou shalt be peaceable. Thou shalt tremble at the words which thou hearest. Thou shalt not be mindful of evil against thy brother. (Epistle of Barnabas 19:4)

For thus He spoke: Be ye watchful, that ye may obtain mercy; forgive, that it may be forgiven you; as ye do, so shall it be done unto you; as ye judge, so shall ye be judged; as ye are kind, so shall kindness be shown to you; with what measure ye mete, with the same it shall be measured to you. (1 Clement 13:2)

But being mindful of what the Lord said in His teaching: Judge not that ye not be judged; forgive, and it shall be forgiven unto you; be merciful, that ye may obtain mercy; with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again; and once more, Blessed are the poor, and those that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God. (Epistle of Polycarp 2:3)

Wherefore the Scripture, as might have been expected, proclaims good news to those who have believed, “the saints of the Lord shall inherit the glory of God and His power.” (Clement of Alexandria, “Exhortation to the Heathen”)

But be thou meek, since the meek shall inherit the earth. (Didache 3:7)

Saint Augustine compares the Beatitudes to the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit:

Poor in spirit = fear of God

Meek = piety

Mourn = knowledge

hunger and thirst = fortitude

mercy = counsel

pure in heart = understanding

peacemaker = wisdom

In the eighth beatitude the other seven are only summed up under the idea of the righteousness of the kingdom in its relation to those who persecute it; while the ninth is a description of the eighth, with reference to the relation in which these righteous persons stand to Christ (Lange).

“It is not the suffering, but the cause, that makes men martyrs.” (Unknown)

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