We are all called to be saints
This is my homily, more or less, for All Saints Day:
Today we celebrate the solemn feast of All Saints. It is a celebration of all the men and women who are in Heaven, but especially those who are unknown. Our first reading from the Book of Revelation says that there are “multitudes” of them in Heaven. And yet, the number of known saints in Heaven is relatively small in comparison. The known saints have been canonized by the Church; we honor them with feasts and memorials throughout the liturgical year. But today is for all of the unknown saints in Heaven.
When we think of a saint, we usually think of someone who has their hands folded and prays all the time; this is what our school kids think that Fr Mike and I do all day! We might think the saints are perfect or that they’re superhuman. But, they are just like you and me- they have weaknesses and commit sins (the only perfect saint is Mary). We are all called to be saints! We are called to be great friends with Jesus Christ and to live the life of the Gospel. If we do, we will be where they are – the Kingdom of Heaven. The goal of life is to get to Heaven. To be a saint means that you are in the Kingdom of Heaven.
By the Grace of God, the saints have made Christ number one in their lives. They live the Beatitudes. “Blessed are the meek” - St. Joseph. “Blessed are the merciful” – St. John Vianney, who was a priest who heard confessions on average for about 14 hours every day in France. “Blessed are the clean of heart” – St. Maria Goretti, who chose to die clean for Jesus at the age of eleven rather than live one day unclean for Him. Christ tells us that if we live the Beatitudes, if we live as saints, we will be happy. Those who live in close friendship with Him in these ways will be “blessed”, or "happy".
So, the Communion of Saints is what we celebrate today. It is one of the most beautiful teachings of our Church. It occurs most especially in the Eucharist. In a few minutes, Jesus will be present on the altar. Where there is the Son, there is the Father and Spirit, and all the angels and saints. This Church, then, becomes like a chamber of Heaven. The Eucharist is where Heaven and Earth meet. All of our family members who have died and are now among the saints in Heaven will be with us, at this Mass and at every Mass. My father, who died eighteen years ago, will be with us, I believe. We can’t see them, but all the saints will be here.
Christ says that the reward for living the life of a saint is happiness, in this life and the next. Today we rejoice and are glad for the saints who have found eternal happiness. They have made it home. They are there! They are where we want to be. They are now enjoying the eternal fruits of their earthly labors, as Christ says: “your reward will be great in Heaven”.