Nov 1, 2016

All Saints Day

Today’s solemn feast day of All Hallows or All Saints is celebrated every year with serious attention so that we do not forget what our common life as Christians is all about - our common responsibility to help each other reach the goal of perfect and beautiful unity with God.  That is why the purity of our love and the heroic depths of the gift of friendships define us.

As the old saying goes, "Show me the company you keep, and I will tell you who you are!" Family and friends have the power to define and influence us. But you and I, because we belong to the family of the Church, we have God-given opportunities to define and influence our own families and our friends in new ways, pointing each other towards, helping each other along that path to ultimate union with God - the deepest longing of every man, woman and child.

We are given glimpses of heaven in our midst through the lens of the sacraments, through the beauty of God's creation, through witnessing God's grace working through the love and sacrifices of good and honest people. This is always a cause of encouragement to us when at times we find the challenges of being disciples of Christ sometimes difficult.

That is why we must encourage each other to be holy. Holiness does not mean that one becomes frozen in the posture of an image on a stained-glass church window or holy picture. Holiness is allowing God's grace to motivate and move us, not only to ultimately approach God and see Him one day, face to face - Holiness allows us to recognize God's image hidden in the beauty of his creation, in love that is pure, in friendships that are life-giving, and to recognize God's hidden image deep within the tortured face, the wounded body and the lonely figure - familiar stomping grounds of the Son of God. For wherever God's presence is, saints are will minister to Him. "For as long as you did it to the least of your brothers and sisters, you did it to me", that's what Our Lord says to saints.

Of course, we often look for inspiration to the example of "canonized" saints, Maybe we take our name from a particular saint, or have a devotion some in particular. These saints the Church puts forth as mentors, whose lives can encourage and inspire us to have faith that God's grace can work through us in whatever work of life we live.

In the Mass, the Roman Canon (the First Eucharistic Prayer) provides us with a sample list of sacred role models from every vocation and way of life. Along with the apostles, some of whom were fathers, husbands, and worked in various jobs, we also include John the Baptist (a prophet), Stephen (a deacon), Matthias (a preacher), Barnabas (a missionary), Ignatius (a bishop), Alexander (a pope), Marcellinus (a priest), Peter (a single man), Felicity (a wife), Perpetua (a widow), Agatha (a martyr), Lucy (a virgin), Agnes (a young girl), Cecilia (a musician), Anastasia (a widow) "and all the saints".

Our own patron St. Margaret of Scotland, reminds us of the importance of finding quiet time to slowly read and meditate on passages of the Gospel as a means of encountering Christ - but not to stop there. St. Margaret translated the sacred verses into active works of mercy as she feed the poor of her land and sheltered refugees from continuous battles and wars that raged around her. Is it any wonder that the people of this parish, inspired by St.Margaret's holiness, have always responded with great generosity, often beyond our means, to appeals to for charity for the homeless, for neglected children and families in need.

But locally, let us not fail to be inspired by the life and example of St. Junipero Serra who brought the Gospel to California, St. Michael the Archangel, patron of those in uniform who protect us and San Diego, a Franciscan brother who embraced the passion of Christ and responded by feeding the poor and caring for the sick.

We share in the holiness and in the efforts of the saints. They are friends of God. They are our friends too. We share in the holiness of God that touches us so often through the whole company of all saints, especially those hidden ones who live and walk among us! 

"Show me the company you keep, and I will tell you who you are!" Keep company with saints and you'll be a saint of God too!

When it doesn't add up

You might remember the 1993 movie Schindler's List , based on in the life of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman. He was credited...