HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF ALL SAINTS.
THEME: THE GLORY OF THE SAINTS.
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE.
HOMILY FOR TUESDAY NOVEMBER 1 2022.
The Saints constitute part of the manifestation of the splendour of the glory of God made concrete in our midst. They are emblems of the fact that the Christian Life is not an utopia and that the grace of God is not inefficient. They are models for us on the path of perfection and on the practice of the Christian Virtues. They are the vessels of the Holy Spirit and the precious and sparkling ornaments of the Church; the testimonial of the success of the Mission entrusted to her by Christ the Lord. May the graces of God we receive on a daily basis help us to attain also the blessedness of the Saints; Amen.
It is very instructive that the Church offers us a day in the Liturgical Calendar to celebrate the glory of the Saints; those officially canonised and recognised by the Church and many more who are not officially canonised but recognised. Celebrating the Saints today, we reaffirm our Profession of Faith in the Creed on the Communion of the Saints; we celebrate the future of our hope; and we declare our trust in the efficacy of God’s grace and blessings. One word that was recurrent on the lips of Jesus in the Gospel Reading of today (Matthew 5:1-12) is the word Happy. Saints are happy people! There is always the tendency to present the Saints as mean and austere persons who have some form of stern and puritanical attitude towards life and the world. Jesus gives the indication today that holiness of life must be based on happiness; not happiness in the categories that the world defines it; but happiness after the mind of Christ. Saints are happy people. They are happy because they are in a very firm and intimate contact with God the Source of all happiness! They are happy because the view and understand things from God’s perspective. Happiness, in whichever way we may want to describe it, either from the worldly point of view or from the celestial point of view, is neither mean nor dry; it is neither without cause nor without some effects in the one who is happy. On the contrary, it signifies the presence of something greater before which our stress and disappointments are dissolved, either momentarily or lastingly. The Superiority of the happiness of the Saints is because of the lasting nature of the treasures they possess and because of their Communion with God, the true Source and Fount of Happiness. This is why Jesus concludes in the Gospel Reading by making reference to those who possess such form of happiness “rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”
This reward is available to everyone of us and God wants us to claim it for ourselves. On the one hand, the First Reading (Apocalypse 7:2-4,9-14) makes reference to the possibility of receiving this blessing from God for anyone by speaking of a “huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands. They shouted aloud, Victory to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Being dressed in white, holding palms in their hands and shouting aloud are eschatological signs of the eternal and lasting happiness which our fidelity to God would fetch us at the end of the time. The Saints we are celebrating today already belong to this company. Through their prayers, example of life and teachings, they are bidding us to make every effort to come over to where they are; a better place. On the other hand, the Second Reading (1 John 3:1-3) gives us indication of one of the greatest achievements of the Saints namely “all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like Him because we shall see him as He really is.” This accounts for the great shout of joy and the happiness of the Saints. How were they able to achieve this feat? How were they able to conquer the many temptations we have to face on a daily basis? How were they able to conquer themselves (their respective egos)? Christ was their ultimate Model and they were open to the grace of God! These remain the secret of the Saints; concentration on Christ and openness to the grace of God that comes to us by the power of the Holy Spirit. You and my sinful self can also be Saints! Yes we Can if Christ remains our ultimate Model and if the Saints remain our Proximate models! Yes we can if we remain open to the grace of God and docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit! The grace of God, and in fact, God Himself, is the greatest power of the Saints!
Lord Jesus, King and Master of the Saints, Your Light enlightened the path of the Saints and empowered them to achieve heights that are beyond our human strength and imagination. May this same Light shine on us and dispel every form of darkness within us and everything ignoble. May this Light transform our respective horizons and replace them with that which is heavenly and magnificent; Amen. Happy Feast of All the Saints; Fr Cyril CCE