Mass of Reparation
Eve of the Feast of All Saints
October 31, 2004
Reading I (Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14) Reading II (1 John 3:1-3)
Gospel (St. Matthew 5:1-12a)
As we gather this evening, it is for a purpose that we would really prefer not to have to be here for. Yet our purpose for being here is something which is truly wonderful, and we need to be so grateful to God for the grace that He has given us to be able to recognize His true presence among us in the Blessed Sacrament, especially on this evening as those who hate Jesus Christ gather together – with absolute faith and confidence that He is present in the Blessed Sacrament – for the very purpose of desecrating the Eucharist and violating Our Lord in the most despicable ways that one could think of. It often makes me stop to think of how those who worship Satan have total faith in the Blessed Sacrament, and yet how many who call themselves Catholic have little or none. So the fact that you have enough faith to come at this hour of the night to make reparation for those who this very evening are going to violate Jesus in the most unspeakable ways – this will happen here in the Twin Cities; it will happen in numerous other places around the state of Minnesota, and of course throughout the nation and throughout the world on this night, which in so many places is called “Witches’ Night”, a time when the Wiccans get together for the highest kind of feast that they can imagine: the feast to desecrate God Himself – must bring great solace to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of His mother who see so many good people who are willing to forego what secular society presents to us and to be able to recognize the truth and to be willing to offer yourselves, your prayers, and your hearts in union with Him in reparation for what it is that these unfortunate souls are doing this very night.
When we think about what is happening tonight and then we look at the readings, we apply them to ourselves as members of Jesus Christ. We hear the words, for instance, that the reason the world hates us is because it never recognized Him. And we have to understand, as Our Lord told us in the very last of the Beatitudes, that we are blessed when we are persecuted for His sake. We have to ask ourselves, as Our Lord Himself did, “Is a disciple greater than the master? Is any student greater than his teacher?” When we stop to think about what is happening to the Master this evening, then we realize that if we are going to be true to our faith the world will hate us just as the world hates Him. Those who hate Him will, of course, try to destroy us just as they tried to destroy Him. They will treat us in the same way they treat Him. And as we come together tonight out of love to offer ourselves in reparation for what they are doing to Him, we need to maintain that same spirit as we go forth and remember that when we are treated as He is that is a great privilege because it tells us that, number one, somebody obviously sees our faith and they do not like it; number two, that Our Lord in His goodness is allowing us to be truly blessed, to be blessed to be united with Him in His suffering. Of course, in the Blessed Sacrament there is no suffering. Consequently, as these unfortunate souls desecrate Our Lord this evening, the only suffering that can be offered is the suffering of the Mystical Body, the cries of our hearts as we unite ourselves with His sacrifice at the Mass.
We recognize that in this society in which these unfortunate people are being joined by greater and greater numbers – recalling that right now Wicca is the single fastest-growing religion in America, realizing that all kinds of occult things are being pressed and people tragically are accepting the devil’s lies and falling headlong into his nonsense – God has chosen you. He has chosen each one of you in a very, very special way. When Saint John saw that vision of all the people from all the tribes and nations and peoples, we have to realize, as we just look around tonight, that we are called to be numbered among them. Not that we have arrived by any means, but the fact that God has given to us the grace sufficient to sacrifice ourselves and to come here at this hour of the night, there is something quite extraordinary happening, and it is happening in the heart of each person here. Our Lord is calling you in a very special way to go deeper, to take what it is that He has given to you to be able to come here tonight, to be willing to offer yourself in union with Him this night, to pray in reparation, and He is asking you now to go even deeper, to start at that place and to delve into the very depths of your being, to be perfectly and completely united to Him in love. Then you will indeed be counted among those blessed souls whom Saint John saw. That is what Our Lord wants for you.
Again, you just simply need to recognize the rarity of what is happening in your heart right now. Of all the Catholics, God has chosen you to be here. We do not know why; that is entirely up to Him. But you need to recognize that this is indeed a great privilege; it is also something which is very rare. As our world spins further and further out of control, the grace of Our Lord is being given to each and every person here tonight to be able to remain united to Him. The fact of your presence here tonight tells us that you recognize (to whatever degree) that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His true presence among us in the Blessed Sacrament is our only source of hope, our only source of security, the only place of order in the chaos of this world. And as we come here before Him tonight in reparation, so too will the grace be there if we avail ourselves of it to come to Him always, everyday, and to open our hearts to Him, to be able to grow in love, to bring to Him all of our struggles and difficulties and problems. If you just reverse the things as we have them tonight, if you were the one being violated and desecrated, and someone was making reparation for what they were doing to you, how grateful would you be to that person? And when that person came to you and opened their heart to you, do you think that you would close your heart to that person who was willing to suffer with you? Certainly not. Neither will Our Lord forget what you have done for Him tonight.
But it is not just a one-time only thing. As I have mentioned, He wants a deep and profound relationship with you. He is calling you to Himself. He is calling you to a deeper union. His heart is wide open to you because your heart is open to Him. And as you have been generous with Him, you can know always that He will never, ever be outdone in generosity. As you sacrifice yourself for Him tonight, so He will continue to sacrifice Himself for you. He gives all for you, and that is what He is asking from you in return. Your generosity this evening is a very, very good start, but do not let it stop there; allow that to continue to deepen because as we celebrate today the great feast of all the saints in heaven, we realize that right now they are all praying with us, that they are all united with us. In a few moments when Jesus is consecrated, a myriad of angels will be present here in the sanctuary adoring Him, with us, in the Blessed Sacrament. What a great song of praise is offered before the throne of God by hearts that are open to Him in love. That is what you are offering to Him tonight, and you realize that in doing that you are sharing in the work of the saints because that is what they do around the throne of God – and we can say this by analogy – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You are preparing yourself for eternity where eternity will be the Mass. It will be being united in perfect love with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. It will be the wedding feast of the Lamb, to which you are invited in the most profound way on earth in preparation for a way which is even more profound in heaven. What you are doing tonight is stepping out in faith on the journey toward becoming a great saint. I commend you for that, and, if I may be so bold to say, on behalf of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother I thank you for that. From the depths of my being, I thank you for being here and for loving Jesus so much that you would be willing to be united with Him in His suffering, in His rejection, but also that you would be willing to unite yourself with all the holy angels and saints in your worship and adoration of Jesus Christ, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.
As we celebrate today this wonderful feast of All Saints, we have to ask ourselves what is required in order to be part of that number, that countless number from every tribe and tongue and people and nation that Saint John saw. It is made very clear in Scripture. First of all, it is to be marked with the seal of the living God. Each and every one of us on the day of our baptism was marked with the Sign of the Cross upon our foreheads. We also, however, have to live the life. As Our Lord makes very clear in the Gospel reading today as He talks about the Beatitudes, we have to live the life of Jesus Christ. If we are baptized into Christ and if we are marked with the Cross, then we are to live accordingly. That is why Saint John would hear the angels say, These are the ones who have survived the period of great trial; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
There is only one way to get to heaven – and that is Jesus Christ. He is the only way and there is no other way. Even for those who have never heard of Jesus Christ before, in order to get to heaven they would have to make that act of faith. Now we know from what the Church teaches us that every person will be granted the grace necessary for salvation. That certainly does not imply that every person will accept the grace, but every person will be offered the grace. That means for each one of us, for all our family members, for all our friends, even those who hate Our Lord, God offers to them all the grace necessary; and, at every moment of their lives, the grace necessary for conversion and for salvation is present to them. So we need to pray for those people. We need also, of course, to pray for ourselves that we will truly live as children of God, making ourselves pure, as He is pure, as Saint John says.
Today we celebrate those who have survived that period of trial. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. They are the ones now who are like Him. We do not yet know what that will be like, but they do. They have entered into God’s glory. They still await the fullness of glory when their bodies will rise from the dead and be reunited with their souls, but even now these holy souls are looking at God face-to-face, bowing down before the throne, as we heard in the first reading from the Book of Revelation, and giving God glory and honor all of the time. Not that there is any time in eternity, but it is the only way we can think of it: At every moment of every day, they are giving God all glory and honor and power and might.
We too can begin that process, to live our lives according to what it is that happens right here at Mass, because that is what eternity will be. It will be Mass. It will be adoration of our blessed Lord, the adoration of our heavenly Father and of the Lamb Who is seated on the throne. That is the One Whom we will receive in just a few moments. He is the One Whom we are called to adore, and it is His life that we are called to live. To make our robes white in the blood of the Lamb is to confess our sins, to accept a share of His suffering in our lives, to live according to the Beatitudes as He Himself has taught us to live, to allow Him even now to live His life in us and through us, and to be conformed to Jesus Christ so that even now we are worshiping the Lamb Who is seated on the throne. Even now we are being purified in this time of trial so that we too one day will be found worthy to become like Him, to share in His glory, to be able to bow down before the throne of Almighty God and give Him worship and adoration for the rest of eternity.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording with minimal editing.