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All Saints' Day, Year A (Deacon Jim Curtain)

Today is the feast of All Saints, which means that it is the feast of our vocation.

God’s passionate desire for every human being is that we all become saints.

Considering that, I’d invite you all to consider this question. When is the last time you saw Jesus Christ at work in another human being?

This week I began work as a hospital chaplain. One day I went into a room and saw a lady, quite sick, and her elderly mother was with her. I don’t know anything about their family history, but I know I saw Jesus there, at work in both of them. 

All of  us are able to look back at our lives and realise that there were times, hopefully many times, we saw Our Lord.

This week I also read a lovely short description of how we can grow in holiness.

Live the life  of Christ in the setting of our own lives.

A very simple principle that applies whatever our state in life, whether one is a student or retired, a politician, a priest or a convict, a waiter, a nurse, a teacher or a doctor. Whatever our state in life it is possible to live the life  of Christ in that setting.

This, by the way, is why it is vital for our own spiritual health that we be very, very careful of judging others.

I can’t know what it would mean to live the life of Christ as a jailed convict, as a refugee, or as a politician. Our reading from the first letter of John contains a verse that I have always found very powerful. ‘We shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.’  If we can see Christ in others, we ourselves have the opportunity to become more like Christ.

I can’t be sure how anyone else sees Christ, but I can look at the general principles of the Beatitudes.They talk of our attitude to others, that we avoid vanity and boasting by being poor in spirit, that we are gentle and open to sorrow, seek justice and peace, and be merciful. For me, being poor in spirit implies that I realise that other people will have their own path, their own way of being Christ, that will be different from mine. This needs humility and vision.

When we pray we should be developing this vision, this purity of heart whereby we can see God in unlikely places, and in unlikely people. Of course the Beatitudes also warn us that if we live according to these principles our life may not be easy. Persecution and abuse may well be the result. As followers of Christ, we should know that the cross may well appear in our lives.  How the cross appears will probably be different for each one of us, as each of us has a different way of following Christ. 

John tells us that we are already the children of God. May we all develop the vision to recognise each other as God’s children, and then share totally in God’s life.

1 November 2020

Dcn Jim Curtain


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