The Solemnity of All Saints, 1 Nov 2017
[Readings: Apocalypse 7:2-4,9-14, 1 John 3:1-3, Matthew 5:1-12]
“The Solemnity of All Saints that we celebrate reminds us of who we are, and that a bright future is ahead of us.
We celebrate not just those who have been canonised as saints, and also those saints who are unknown to us but known to God, those who are in full communion with Him.
It also reminds us of the goal that they have attained, the ultimate goal: Heaven itself, to be one with God, face to face.
The saints encourage us in our struggles. They are like us in every way. When they were living on earth, they had to endure their own struggles day after day.
The difference was that they grew from strength to strength to strength. They were open to God’s graces and used the graces to enhance their lives and those around them.
In the Old Testament, we have Abraham. He lied to others that his wife was his sister, he was afraid, but he grew from strength to strength, so much so that we now call him the father of our faith.
And there was Moses, who had a speech impediment. He murdered an Egyptian soldier. When God called him, he protested, telling God to choose his brother Aaron instead. But he, too, grew from strength to strength, eventually leading his people out of Egypt.
In the New Testament, we have Peter, the impulsive one, the one who denied Jesus. Yet, in the Acts of the Apostles, we see that he was leading the people, willing to die for Jesus.
Take Paul, who persecuted Christians. After his conversion, he ended up fighting for Christians.
Outside of the bible, we also have many wonderful saints.
St Augustine comes to mind. If you read about his life, from a young age, he was a rascal. He led a loose life, mixing with the wrong company, had a mistress, fathered an illegitimate child.
But when he was converted in Milan, there was no turning back. He put his sights high, and all for the Lord Jesus. He was ordained a priest and became a bishop. He left behind many writings and we see his contributions in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Most of his quotations are found there.
These saints struggled, like you and I, and had limitations.
The difference was, they were always open to God’s graces, wanting to change.
The second reading from the first letter of St John shows us this reality. It says that we are God’s children, and what we shall be has not yet been fully revealed to us.
But what we know is that when it is revealed, we shall be like Him. Why? Because we shall see Him face to face.
That is what we are invited to do, to set our sights high, so that we can be one with God at the end of time.
As we celebrate this feast, we also remember those who have gone before us.
We pray that they are also in the number of people who are standing in front of the throne of God. And if not, that they will be there soon.
We pray for ourselves, because we want to be counted with the saints as well when our time here is completed, and to intercede for others.
For now, we are still on that journey towards sainthood, with all our limitations.
In communion with the saints, we ask them to pray with us and for us in all our struggles and temptations, that they be our guiding light, because they have already reached the ultimate goal.
We thank God for the many countless saints who are in communion with Him, and pray with the hope that we will one day join them, to be in their company in heaven. Amen.”