Monday, November 2, 2015

All Saints

All Saints
The feast of All Saints invites us to give thanks to God: for parents and grandparents, relatives and mentors and friends, heroes and heroines. And if they are deceased, remember them in prayer, especially during November. You may drive to the cemetery to pray. Above all, give thanks for the faith community that calls us to be in relationship with God here on this planet, for that is the purpose of life:to be in relationship with God here and beyond our earthly life.

In the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus describes the meaning of discipleship: they recognize who they are, fragile creatures, in the presence of an awesome creator; they hunger for God in their daily lives; they forgive wrongs done to them; they have God’s will as their first priority; they are peacemakers; and yes, they are ready to suffer rather than betray the Master. What a splendid spirituality for you and me: the beatitudes that so many disciples and saints lived out, and that so many today are living.

We should be grateful to God, especially in November as we remember the faithful departed--yes, grateful for those who have gone before us, on whose shoulders we stand, so to speak; those who have made our lives possible: our parents and grandparents, a teacher or a relative or a mentor or friend.

In particular we should be grateful for the Catholic faith community which gives noble purpose to our lives. Let me give you a few examples:

  1. We are a worldwide community: one billion plus, rich and poor, black and white, American, European, Asian and African, a family that celebrates the presence of the living Christ in the liturgies of the Word and of the Eucharist, where the bread and wine become the sacramental reality of Jesus Christ. Yes, we possess within ourselves “the spark of the divine.”
  2. We are a community with splendid heroes and heroines: Francis and Clare of Assisi, Anthony of Padua, Dominic, Ignatius of Loyola, Thomas More, Teresa of Avila, Vincent de Paul, Therese of Lisieux, Padre Pio, Mother Teresa—and the litany goes on. These are people worth imitating in our own quest for ultimate meaning.
  3. We are a community which always has something to celebrate: the blessing of animals in October, Our Lady of Guadalupe in December, St. Nicholas in Advent, Christmas, Ash Wednesday, Easter, Pentecost, and more.
  4. We are a community that takes a stand on peace and justice: sponsoring and staffing shelters, hospices, soup kitchens, literacy programs, hospitals and schools throughout the world.
But alas we are also a community with tensions. Because we are made up of human beings. Some are dysfunctional, and make a mess out of their lives and the lives of others. So, we have to live with some messiness and muddle through as best we can.

Be proud and joy-filled to belong to this worldwide community, in which we confess to want to know God better, to follow Jesus and the saints ever more closely.

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