Look to the Saints – Bert Boholst, SJ

Matthew 5:1-12, Solemnity of All Saints

Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints.  We remember those who followed Christ, despite the trials that came in their lives.  The Church declares them as Saints because of their full acceptance of God’s will despite their sufferings while living on earth.  We look to them as examples of generosity, charity, and love for God and for others.  The Saints are our models in living out the Beatitudes, which we read in the Gospel today.

The message of the Beatitudes may not be easy to understand or to accept.  Surely, we do not want to be oppressed, we hate suffering and we do not want to be neglected.  What the Beatitude tells us is the reality of our world, that certainly there are people who follow the Lord and fear God, but there are also many who disobey.

Sadness is a reality of our lives, especially when we fail, when we are in difficult situations, and when we must deal with problems.  We can only try to do our best, but we can never eliminate the troubles of our days, because they just come, most of the time unexpected.  Perhaps, the better prayer is not to remove our problems.  Instead, we ask for the grace to hope, to believe, and to trust that no matter what we have to face and deal with,  God is with us.  In the end, all our difficulties may hopefully become meaningful events of our lives that will connect us closer to our God.  By then, we might count everything as a blessing, an opportunity to let God be God for us.

The meaning of our lives does not rely solely on the successes that we may achieve.  More importantly, our lives become worth living once we know our focus, once we have learned to purify our hearts, and once we have become true to our real selves in front of our true God who is loving and merciful.  By then, we may have become more aware and more appreciative of the salvation freely offered to us in Jesus.

Full of joy and gratitude, today we remember all those who came before us, they who are now enjoying eternal happiness with our God. Tomorrow, we will commemorate all the faithful departed. We believe that our destiny on the last day depends on our sincere acceptance of the words of Jesus and on how we live them out. If we choose the sinful and selfish ways, instead of choosing Jesus’ way of holiness, it is possible that on Judgment Day, Jesus might say to us, “I do not know you.”  If we offer and surrender our whole lives to Jesus, then we might become one of the Saints we celebrate today.  Perhaps, all of us who are still living are in the middle ground.  We all want to go straight to heaven with Jesus but sometimes we quickly go back to our old habits.  By the time we leave this world, we may become like broken and dirty dolls, in need of cleansing, before becoming worthy to face our God.

In this Mass, let us pray for the grace to be able to try to follow the examples of the Saints.  May we be open to the Lord’s invitation to follow Him. This day and all the days of our lives are like rehearsals for the last day when we give our hearts again to the God who gave them to us. May our hearts be true and open, and always ready now and always.

*Painting by Fra Angelico

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