Homily for the Solemnity of All Saints
Theme: Pursuit of holiness
By: fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
The Saints were men and women like us, from all works of life and from all forms of background. They had their limitations and weaknesses and were subject to temptations like us. The Saints faced the challenges we are facing today and some of them had to endure the most difficult and inhuman conditions, offering all to God in faith, hope and love. But also, the Saints trusted God even when the path was blurred. They were open to the power of grace. The Saints knew that “it is actually only God Who truly operates and our sole responsibility is to cooperate with Him.” May you and I, one day, be part of this cloud of victorious and glorious witnesses; Amen.
Celebrating the Solemnity of all the Saints is a celebration of the future we hope for; a profession of faith of our trust in the power of God’s grace to help us reach this ultimate goal; and our declaration of the fact that it is possible to worship God in spirit and truth. In the Solemnity of today, on the one hand, we worship and glorify God for His graciousness and on the other hand we honour and proclaim the bravery of the saints in deciding for God. It is never easy to decide for God, because there is always something prompting us to the contrary. To decide for God involves a certain form of ‘positive violence’ in which one courageously and forcefully disconnects himself or herself from the Devil and from all his destructive plots. Such disconnection won for the saints the eternal and golden Crown of glory for which we celebrate them today. The First Reading (Apocalypse 7:2-4, 9-14) describes them as “the people who have been through the great persecution, and they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb.” The Saints followed Christ not only as their Leader but also as the only true Model of life. They had possibilities of being other things! They may have had other aspirations as well! But they came to realise that the ultimate goal of life is to reign with God in eternity. No other promise is superior to the promise of eternal life which only God can give, during which “we shall be like Him because we shall see Him as He really is” (I John 3:1-3). We were created in the image and likeness of God and the ultimate goal of life is to eternally behold the face of our Creator for all eternity. The whole of our earthly life is a passage during which our true assignment is _vultum Dei quaerere_ (Seeking the face of God).
Deciding for Holiness of Life, and consequently for sainthood, is never easy. However, it remains the noblest thing anybody can achieve. The beautiful thing about the saints is that there is always a saint who uniquely fits into our personal stories. The truth is that irrespective of our present condition or predicament, we can join their company if we make the firm and necessary decision today. In celebrating all the Saints, the Church celebrates the noblest of all her sons and daughters. At the same time, the Church presents to her Master the fruits of the mission entrusted to her to make disciples of all the nations (Mt 28:19). As the Family of God, the Church also brings to the knowledge of her other sons and daughters the secret of the saints. The Success Story of the saints was inspired by the great attention to all the teachings of Christ, but especially to the one presented to us in the Gospel Reading of today (Matthew 5:1-12) known as the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes remain perennial guide for every sincere pursuit of holiness of life. In them, the saints found the proper direction for their lives. Through the Beatitudes, the saints were inspired to become agents of transformation. With the beatitudes, the saints were able to touch hearts, spiritually direct others, mend homes, edify the Church, enrich their communities, build bridges in human relationships, transform the world and to discern the will of God in their lives and in the lives of those around them. We can also emulate this great secret of the saints by ordering our lives after the prescriptions of the Beatitudes. The world needs more saints! The Church prays and tirelessly works towards offering to God and to the world the gift of an increasing number of saints! We can make it into the Company of these holy men and women of God! But then, you and I must have to decide!
Holy Father, there is an increasing volume of war against everything holy from the secular sphere. Give each and every of us Your Children the courage and the spiritual tools to victoriously wage this war, so as to merit the blessedness of the saints; Amen. Happy Solemnity of All Saint and Happy New Month of November; Fr Cyril CCE