Solemnity of All Saints
By Rev. Joe McCloskey, S. J.
Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me, "Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?" I said to him, "My lord, you are the one who knows." He said to me, "These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 7:13-14
Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Matthew 5:12
Piety is what makes a Saint. We are all called to live who Christ would have been if he had our gifts and purpose from God. Our prayer opens us to the word of Christ written on our hearts. We become what we pray about when we are looking at Christ in our prayer. Each of us recognizes in the good we do the presence of Christ. We know how to look at Christ when our piety is made up of all the practices that allow us to see the world through the mind and the heart of Christ. The beatitudes can tell us how we are alike to Christ. There should be one that fits us if we are serious about Christ. Preachers talk about Christ from how they see Christ in the happiness of life. The beatitude that fits us is where we can see how alike to Christ we are. The beatitudes we are most weak in show us where we need to act if we want to be more like Christ.
We are called the children of God by our Baptism; we become brothers and sisters of Christ. God has given us the life of his Eternal Word. Our destiny is heaven. By our holiness we belong to each other. Saints belong to each other in Christ. The community of Saints expresses the fullness of Christ. Christ is the Wisdom of the Father in human expression. To follow in the footsteps of Christ gives us the promise of heaven where we will find ourselves and each other in Christ. When what we shall be is revealed, we will find ourselves like him, for we shall see him as he is in all of us. For a long time I understood a saint as an update of Christ. The saint captures in their day and time a fullness of the expression of who Christ would be in their time and age. Now I understand a saint as a transparency of Christ. Christ is the fullness of the wisdom of the Father and he is now safely ensconced in heaven. Our canonized saints are the men and the women who the church recognized as a good expression of Christ in their time. They stood out from the run of the mill saint by virtue of how fully they lived in their lives who Christ would have been if he was them. The Church singles out men and women who are exceptional in how they have captured the essence of Christ in their time and age. Not all saints are recognized by canonization. We all have a little bit of Christ in us. The saints have a lot of Christ in how they live their lives and share their love with the needy of their lives. Saints are truly men and women for others because they have captured the truth of the second commandment of God in their lives. They truly love their neighbor as other selves. They live their lives for their neighbor. In giving themselves away to the needs of the needy, they have found themselves in Christ. They are the men and the women who can say with Paul (Gal. 2, 19) “Now I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
Saints preach Christ by their lives. Saint Francis said it neatly. “Preach always and occasionally use words.” Our hearts reveal to us how to be more like Christ in the everyday of our lives. Each day we need to put into practice something special we see about Christ. The best way we can celebrate this feast day of the saints is to be a saint for someone special. Celebrate today as your feast day. We are on the road to be a saint when we are willing to be all of ourselves in his name for another.