Enjoy Your Feast Day


All Saints Day

Rev 7: 2-4, 9-14; 1 John 3: 1-3; Mt 5: 1-12a

Dc. Larry Brockman

What does it mean to be a saint?  I think we get some strong clues in today’s readings.

Saints are people who are humble in spirit; who suffer quietly through life’s trials; and who are meek and not arrogant.  Saints thirst and hunger for the right thing to do, rather than the expedient thing to do.  They are merciful, forgiving those who do them wrong.  They have pure and clean hearts, and stay within God’s moral law; they don’t cheat when nobody is looking.  They are peacemakers, and avoid confrontations to get even; they rejoice at the success of others, even when they, themselves, fail.  And yet, saints endure persecution when they are defending their faith- they hang in there in faith even when they are insulted and berated for what they do.  These are things that characterize the saints.  They live a life that is patterned after Jesus.  

Lot’s of times, we think the saints are just canonized saints-  the apostles, the martyrs, and great defenders of the faith from the past, people like Saints Peter and Paul and Augustine and Agatha and Catherine of Siena and Joan of Arc.  And indeed, the Church has recognized these people as saints.  But there is something we should all know about these saints.  They were not perfect.  Each of the classic saints I mentioned above had sinned.  Peter denied Christ three times; Paul persecuted the Christians before his conversion; and Augustine led a pleasure seeking life before his conversion.  But, they went on to practice one or more of the beatitudes with zeal.   

Now, there are many people who lived amongst us recently who were not perfect but who practiced one or more of the Beatitudes we mentioned above.  They lived them out of faith, and they lived them with a passion.  Some easily recognized modern day saints include war heroes who sacrificed their lives to save others; and people dedicated to relieving the suffering of the poor and lepers, and people who dedicated their lives to caring for unwed mothers who were considering abortion.  There are names we can think of that fit each of these three categories.  Yes, they may have been sinners as well.  But God’s mercy triumphs over justice.  And these people were surely saints for what they have done.   

Likewise, there are many living amongst us today who are destined to become saints.  They are people in our own families who have given up their own dreams of personal achievement  In order to follow some task they have been called to do.  Like raising children; caring for aging parents; providing for their families; teaching others; using God’s resources to make life better for us all, and defending our country against terror.  They, also, are not perfect- they are sinners as well.  The point is that saints live their faith as imperfect humans.  They work at it with zeal, and God’s mercy triumphs over justice.   

Today, we recognize all these latter day saints as well as the canonized ones.  They are amongst the great multitude which no one could count.  They survived the time of great distress.  The Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.   

Now, that calls to mind this question.  What does it mean to be a saint?  Yes, what is it that waits for those who become saints?  John answers that question for us.  He says that we are God’s children now.  So we are first of all, God’s children.  Now think about when you were a child.  We needed to learn to do what we were told just because our parents said so.  So also, we need to do what God wants us to do.  We need to do it even if we don’t understand it, just because God told us to do so.  Why?  Because God loves us, just like our parents loved us.  How does God love us?  God’s love was displayed visibly by the gift of his Son Jesus.  His son suffered and died for us.  But then, he was resurrected. 

We have been told that it will be the same for us.  We will suffer and die, and most importantly, we will be resurrected, thanks to the gift of Jesus becoming human, a gift we will soon celebrate as we enter the Advent and Christmas season.  John goes on to say that even though we be resurrected, we don’t know what that will be like.  But he says that we will be like him, like Jesus. 

Wow!  Think of that.  We will be like Jesus, and we will know the Father just like He does.  And knowing in this sense, is experiencing God.  So we will experience the love and the glory and the joy that is from God.  We will be part of the Kingdom of God.  

So rejoice everybody.  Rejoice that you are destined to become a saint,   Imperfect though you may be.  And rejoice over the everlasting joy that will be yours.  Because this is your feast day, the feast of All Saints. 

2 Responses to “Enjoy Your Feast Day”

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