Solemnity of All Saints (Mt 5:1-12a)

Today we celebrate All Saints Day, a day for honoring the countless men and women who have lived a life of virtue and holiness and now reside in the presence of our Lord and Savior in heaven.  While we generally relegate notions of sainthood and holiness to those honored dead we should remember that all the saints exercised their lives of sanctity and devotion to God while living here on earth.  In honoring those who have died we must not ignore or forget those saints who are living among us today.

All Saints

All Saints

All Saints’ Day celebrates those whose living examples remind us of what we can be when we are at our very best. The stories of their lives remind us of who we are, what we believe, and what we can become. They remind us of just how closely a human being can follow the example of Jesus; they draw us forward, give us courage, and strengthen us to do God’s will. Their good examples remind us that God reaches out to us with grace and loving care.

The saints inspire us not to lose sight of the ultimate goal: Jesus’ commandment to love God with all our hearts and minds and souls, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Remembering the saints allows us to continue to hold them close and can give us the strength to persevere through adversity. They can help us feel God’s comforting touch when we are discouraged and can lift us when we fall.

The scriptures for today take on additional meaning when read alongside daily news reports which all too frequently recount the sufferings and open persecutions of fellow human beings, our brothers and sisters throughout the world.  We can only imagine how many individuals or groups suffer in silence, hidden from the view of photographers, reporters and news agencies.  These are all “saints in the making,” people who are living saintly lives, some of them at great personal sacrifice.

We must understand that the call to become saints is not limited to a few extraordinary individuals.  You and I are called to be saints; we too are “saints in the making.” Today we ask the saints to intercede for us, to give us the desire to live and walk intimately with Jesus, the Lamb of God. Following the examples of those who have come before us can enable us to think beyond our limitations and to respond to God’s infinite love by serving those who are in most need of God’s love.

And we can we respond to God’s love through the beatitudes; by thirsting for righteousness, being meek and humble of heart, and living as peacemakers. The beatitudes respond to the natural desire for happiness that God has placed in every heart. They teach us the final end to which God calls us, namely the kingdom of God and entering into His loving and welcome embrace. The beatitudes force us to take a serious look at the choices we make and how we use the gifts God has given us.

The Indian mystic and sage Meher Baba often used the expression “Don’t worry, be happy” which was turned into a song sung by Bobby McFerrin in 1988. The word beatitude literally means “happiness” so it is not a stretch to say that the message that Jesus wants us to hear is simply “don’t worry, be happy.” The call to holiness, to be saints who joyfully pursue God’s will can be found in the beatitudes–to live a beatific life, to be happy.

The beatitudes can perhaps best be defined as the BE ATTITUDES, the act of BEing in love and communion with God, of having the right ATTITUDE for life in service to others. Through the BE-ATTITUDES Jesus tells us that happiness has nothing to do with wealth, education, health, job, children, success or failure. Happiness has everything to do with the attitude of being, the attitude of life, the attitude of living in the spirit and love of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Deacon Chuck

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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