ALL SAINTS DAY
"If he and she can become Saints, why can't I?"
The advancements of our modern world have unfortunately led to secularism and indifference to religion. This has degenerated into corruption of the moral fabric of our society: where human beings are careless about their attitudes, conducts, behaviors, words and actions and their consequences. This significantly and indispensably poses challenges to Christians and their faith.
However, in the history of Christianity every epoch: ancient, medieval, modern or contemporary, has witnessed its own troubled times where believers have to face circumstances that challenged their faith values and principles. Some individual Christians have stood tall in dedication and commitment to the faith in defending the gospel values and the mission of Jesus Christ in their respective environments. Living their call to holiness in the midst of persecutions, hatred, injustices, immortality, corruption, atheism, etc made some of them to ultimately pour their blood as their proof. Their consistency and unrelenting attitudes towards their faith, even to the point of loosing their lives for the sake of Christ, has made them models and noble examples worthy of emulation.
Hence, the celebration of the feast of All Saints Day today. We rejoice in honoring and dignifying them for their glorious achievements. Now they are blest in the eyes of God and they stand in God’s holy place and sing of the love God has bestowed on them.
Historicity about this feast indicates that it was established to honor the great number of Christians martyred during the persecution of Emperor Diocletian (284-305). Mentioned in the 4th century as one for the Eastern rite celebrated as All Martyrs (according to St. Ephrem of Edessa, 373). In the Western rite it was commemorated on Sunday after Pentecost. Overtime, (609/610) the origin of this feast was perceived to be rooted in the dedication of the Roman Pantheon under the title of S. Maria ad Martyres by Pope Boniface IV (608-615). Pope Gregory IV (827-844) transferred its celebration from May to November 1, an adoption of the English Gallican practice, by making it a holy day.
Our first reading presents the vision of John of Patmos about so great a multitude of Saints in the heavenly glory. These are wearing white robes because they have survived the times of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb. This is an indicative to the Christians that the journey to sainthood does not come on a silver platter. These individuals put their trust in Christ and lived heroic lives of faith. They allowed themselves to be used as instruments that God used to work miracles in their time and age. So after achieving the celestial glorification they become our heavenly mediators and intercessors.
Therefore, the Psalmist affirms that their longing to see the face of God has be rewarded. There is hope for us too who long to see His face.
St. John, in the second reading, indicates that God, the Father, has bestowed His love to us; by which we become the children of God. This suggests to us that Saints are children who generously responded to the love of God showered upon them. Hence, our hope of becoming Saints to enjoy the unrevealed things in the heavenly glory, of which the the Saints are enjoying, is to be children of God and as pure as Himself.
Thus, Jesus Christ motivates us with the BEATITUDES to indicate to us that the Saints we celebrate and honor today walked on the hard and narrow paths of their Christian vocation and mission here on earth to arrive at the heavenly glory. The Beatitudes demands far and beyond the Ten Commandments but these guided and shaped the attitudes and behaviors of those individuals to reach their goals of salvation. The Beatitudes are, indeed, the true and reliable recipe to sainthood.
This inspires us that we can become Saints by choosing well by doing good and avoiding evil, by choosing to follow Christ, the way to heaven. The Saints were once like you. You will also be like them one day. Just be saint today!
Faith over fear... Keep the Faith... See you in Church...
JUST IMITATE THE SAINTS...
Fr. Emmanuel hails from Ghana and is passionate about the Gospel and bringing the love of Christ to all people. He speaks several languages, enjoys soccer and cooking, and loves St. Francis of Assisi.