Solemnity of All Saints
November 1, 2020
Readings: Book of Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14; Psalm 24:1BC-2, 3-4AB, 5-6;
1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12A
A chronic gambler once prayed, “I would do anything, even the devil’s work, to hit the Mega Millions lottery next week! I would become one of the richest men in the world.” Incredibly, the man had his prayer answered. A messenger came to his front door and handed him a newspaper dated one week ahead. The man turned to the page where the winning numbers were listed. Before his eyes, he saw all the numbers that would entitle him to win hundreds of millions of dollars. As you can imagine, the man was elated and began to imagine what he was going to do with his winnings. As he turned
the pages of the newspaper his heart skipped a beat, he saw his name printed in big, bold print in the obituary notices. On the day he wins the lottery, he will also die.
This story teaches us that in spite of the joys, pleasures, and yes—even the countless “millions” we may acquire, death hangs over our heads like the proverbial sword of Damocles. For us, the question is: Are we prepared for our inevitable end?
Today, our church celebrates the Solemnity of All Saints. The practice began in the
early church to celebrate the many martyrs whose names had not been recorded,
and therefore; they could not be individually commemorated. They were, after all, our role models. They had triumphed. They were the ones who, in the words of the first reading, “had washed their robes in the blood of the lamb.” We are to take encouragement from them. We need to take comfort in the fact that those holy ones, who have gone before us, still care and want us to follow in their footsteps.
At another level entirely, it is both encouraging and frightening to realize that all of us are saints. That’s not because our behavior is exemplary or holy, but because the Spirit of Jesus dwells in us through our baptism. It is through the sacrament of baptism that, as the second reading tells us, we can be called the “children of God.”
Finally, it is important today to celebrate the saints among us. The reason I say this is because the celebration of the Solemnity of All Saints is not only a celebration of those saints, declared and not declared, but also for all of us who are and must be in the process of becoming saints. That is why to be a true disciple or to be a saint is summed up in today’s Gospel narrative: The Beatitudes. These beatitudes (or blessednesses, graces, happinesses) are not impossible to follow because the declared and not declared saints, have shown us how to accomplish what we may think is, well, impossible.
Over the many years that the church has acknowledged our saints, they have been our
inspiration to follow their blessed lives. We must always remember that these holy men and women were human, just as we are human. Many of the saints we pray to were sinners who repented and amended their lives. Many converted to the Catholic faith, many gave their lives for the faith, and many actually struggled with their faith. They proved to us that we, too, can receive the reward of a saintly life; an everlasting life in God’s eternal kingdom.
We must keep in mind the story of the chronic gambler and his wish for fortune. He not only wanted riches, he wanted more, more, and even more riches. His greed blinded him and, in the end, he had won nothing. Yes, he may have won a vast amount of money, but just think of what he lost!
Question of the Day: Will you become familiar with the known saints of our faith and become encouraged by their examples of true virtue and courage?
Prayer: May our blessed saints, especially our patron saints, intercede for us to our Heavenly Father and guide us in our earthly journey. Amen.