A Note from Pastor Rall: Children of God

This Sunday we celebrate All Saints Day.  It is a special feast day that arose out of the Church’s tradition of celebrating the martyrdom of saints on the anniversary of their martyrdom.  When martyrdoms increased during the persecution of the late Roman Empire, a common feast day was instituted in order to ensure that all martyrs, known and unknown were properly honored.  By the late 4th Century this common feast was being celebrated in many places.  The date of November 1st was established when Pope Gregory III (731-741) consecrated a chapel to all the martyrs in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Remembering those who have departed in the faith and giving thanks for their faithful witness and example strengthens that unique bond between those in heaven (the Church Triumphant) and the living (the Church Militant).  It is an opportunity to remember that the saints are those who have been sanctified, made holy, in the blood of Jesus.  That is God’s work that through baptism and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit has claimed us as His own and continues to fashion us in the likeness of Christ.

The Epistle reading for All Saints Day (1 John 3:1-3) expresses our identity as God’s children in these beautiful words, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”  We can only marvel with St. John the amazing truth that God has made us His children and if we are His children then we are heirs of all the blessings and gifts that Jesus has secured for us in His suffering, death, and resurrection.

In the Gospel reading for this All Saints Day (Matthew 5:1-12) Jesus speaks of the wonderful blessings that belong to those who are His children.  These blessings are gifts of His grace, showered upon His children whom He loves and for whom he cares.  What a blessing it is that we can say “we are children of God.”  The world doesn’t know or appreciate what that means, because they do not know Him who is our Father.  We do, for that is who we are.

...Pastor Rall