A HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF ALL SAINTS – 11/1/16 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
It is very difficult for most of us to consider ourselves saints. We know our weaknesses. We know our sins. We know, especially if we’re honest, just how bad each us have been at some point in our pasts. We see the statutes, and the Holy Cards, and the stained-glass windows. And the depiction of the saints, especially in art, are always so perfect! They have perfect hair, and teeth, and they look so peaceful. And when you and I look at our lives, we know our lives aren’t like that. Wouldn’t you just once like to see a picture of a saint, in the driver’s seat of a minivan, waiting to pick up their kids? Or how great would it be to see a holy card of a saint while their waiting in line at the license branch? Anybody can look patient and serene waiting for their martyrdom, try being patient and serene at license branch, or the bank, or the checkout line! Or wouldn’t you just once like to see a statute of a saint when they were having a bad hair day? Like when you get up in the morning, and that whole side of head is sticking straight up? And you look like Gumby! Apparently, when you get to Heaven, you don’t have bad hair days anymore!
It’s no wonder that we have such a hard time envisioning ourselves as saints, when we don’t look like the pictures. The reality is that ALL of us, let me repeat that, ALL OF US are called to be Saints! We might not feel like saints. We might not look like we think saints look like. We might have many sins and keep having to go back to Confession. But guess what? So did all the saints. The truth is that the saints looked just like us. They weren’t perfect. There were tall saints, and there were short saints. There were skinny saints, and there were full-figured saints. There were smart saints and there were saints that weren’t all that smart. There were saints who loved being in church all day, and there were saints that went to church, but had to live outside in the world that needed God. There were all kinds of saints. That’s true for the past two-thousand years, and it’s true right now. There are as many different kinds of saints as there are different kinds of people.
What’s important to remember today, as we celebrate ALL SAINT’S DAY, is that each and every person is called by God to be a saint, and that God makes us saints, all we have to do is cooperate! That’s right, you too can be a saint! God wants you to be a saint! But for that to happen, you gotta live for God, and not for yourself, and not for this world.
Today, on this Feast Day, we are challenged by God and by those who have already become saints, to let go of what the world sees as success, and to invest in spiritual and moral growth instead. Isn’t that exactly what these Beatitudes call us to? Jesus invites us to die to self-will and follow Him. Letting go of self-will frees us from egos that say that it’s all about us, making us open to living out the beatitudes in our daily lives.
And notice, the Beatitudes describe qualities, not actions. We don’t pull ourselves up to God by our spiritual bootstraps. On the contrary, we face our weaknesses and, therefore, our need for God and His Mercy! God makes us saints! We become aware that we are poor in spirit, that we need God, and then we grow in healthy humility!
God loves us not because we are perfect, but because He is loving and merciful. When we accept this, when we turn our lives over to God’s love and mercy, that when we become so much more likely to show mercy and forgiveness to others.
Make no mistake about it, we ARE much more like the Saints than we like to imagine! We are the future saints! Thanks to what God has done for us! Our reward in Heaven will be great! And that’s not just some “pie in the sky” promise. When we live as God invites us to live, as we are called, we help build up God’s Kingdom. We come to have hearts that are open to God’s Grace, and we experience the good gifts of peace and joy that He wants to bestow on us. We become not only like the saints, but we actually become Saints of the Kingdom of God. And that, my brothers and sisters, is exactly who we were ALL created to be, in the first place!
Let us celebrate this Feast as OUR FEAST DAY!
+ And may God bless us as we become what He created us to be, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…
St. Maria Goretti and ALL the Saints… Pray for us!!!