Homily of the Feast of All Saints, 01st November 2018
Universal Call to Sainthood
There is a popular idea that a saint is someone who never does anything wrong, is good and pure to the core and lives a perfect life of holiness. On this note we put them in stained glass windows, carve statues of them and erect churches in their names. We have pushed them so far from us as we can place them. On this note we hear people say that they can never be as holy as them. We wonder if the saints ever lived to experience the stresses of everyday life.
Who can be a saint? Although the exact number of saints is unknown, we know of course, that the greater majority have been members of religious orders. We love them and we admire them; we wish to imitate them. But how can a mother with small children, a wife with a difficult husband, a young bride with in-law problems, can they too become saints?
We very often tend to forget that we are all called to holiness whatever our commitments may be, whatever our vocation, whether to be married, single, consecrated. By virtue of our baptism, we have a universal call to sainthood which is not limited only to priests and religious, but to all. In effect Saints are our kindly and generous friends, consoling companions and ready and willing intercessors with God. They were not exempt from the countless trials and hardships we are going through in our own day.
In fact, the Sermon on the Mount says to us that being holy is to enter into the happiness of the kingdom of heaven. So first holiness is a mystery of happiness. In truth, the blessed par excellence is only Jesus. He is, in fact, the true poor in spirit, the one afflicted, the meek one, the one hungering and thirsting for justice, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemaker. He is the one persecuted for the sake of justice. Holiness demands a constant effort, but it is possible for everyone because, rather than a human effort, it is first and foremost a gift of God, thrice Holy (cf. Is 6: 3).
In effect, all of us can become saints, single men and women, mothers and fathers, soldiers and servants, doctors and lawyers, priests and religious, the humble and the noble – all who have met the difficulties and challenges of the secular life and triumphed over them. Their virtues are to be admired, but most of all imitated. The example of the Saints encourages us to follow in their same footsteps and to experience the joy of those who trust in God, for the one true cause of sorrow and unhappiness for men and women is to live far from him.
Jude Thaddeus Langeh, cmf
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