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CELEBRATING THE SAINTS OF GOD

Read­ing Time: 2 minutes

Introduction

The com­mem­or­a­tions of mar­tyrs, com­mon to sev­er­al churches, began to be cel­eb­rated in the IV cen­tury. The first traces of a gen­er­al cel­eb­ra­tion are abut­ted to Anti­och, and they refer to the Sunday after Pente­cost. This cus­tom is also men­tioned in 74th homily of John Chryso­stom (407) and pre­served till date by the Ortho­dox Church of the East. The date of the hol­i­day was moved to 1st Novem­ber to coin­cide with Sam­hain, the ancient feast of the Celt­ic new year as a res­ult of requests to this effect from the Irish mon­ast­ic world. Pope Gregory III (731−741) chose

The great Tribulation

Like every human phe­nomen­on, even the feast we are cel­eb­rat­ing today has under­gone series of meta­morph­os­is. Ini­tially, it was a com­mem­or­a­tion of all the mar­tyrs. That is, vic­tims of per­se­cu­tion (the mar­tyrs were those who nev­er wanted to be killed but who unfor­tu­nately were killed simply because they were Chris­ti­ans, not those who made every effort to ensure they were killed). Today in our con­tem­por­ary age, we now cel­eb­rate pop­u­lar per­son­al­it­ies, a tend­ency that has largely obscured the ori­gin­al reas­on for the cel­eb­ra­tion, releg­at­ing it to the back­ground. The year of faith is a call to metánoia. There­fore, we have to go back and re-dis­cov­er the reas­on behind this feast and keep to it. As the sev­enth chapter of the book of Rev­el­a­tion (first read­ing) indic­ates, refer­ring to the uncount­able and great mul­ti­tude arriv­ing from every corner of the universe.……

Mat­thew 5:1–12 belongs to the second clas­si­fic­a­tion. The Greek term maka,rio~ means, blessed, for­tu­nate, happy in the sense of the priv­ileged recip­i­ent of divine favour. In this case, it means blessed is one who…. Although kar­dia could mean heart as the seat of phys­ic­al life, in the Matthean con­text, it should be under­stood fig­ur­at­ively as in the sense of interi­or or cen­ter and source of inner life. Hence, it is the pro­fund­ity of Man’s being­ness. This interi­orness is not only the seat of sen­ti­ments, but also the seat of intel­li­gence and will. As seat of intel­li­gence, the heart allows the indi­vidu­al to under­stand what he/she appre­ci­ates. Con­trar­ily, when a per­son refuses to com­pre­hend the true sense of things or events, the Bible qual­i­fies such per­son as hav­ing hardened his/her heart. The psalm­ist warned: If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your heart (cf. Ps 95:8). Still on this, Mark (10:5) in reply­ing to the Phar­isees on the issue of mar­riage and divorce, explained to them that it was due to their skler­okar­dia (hard heart; hard­ness of heart; hardened heart) that Moses allowed them to do as they wished. The book of Qohelet tells us that God gave Man heart to reflect, and the Psalms speak of “thoughts of the heart.” Hence.……

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