YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF ALL SAINTS
HOMILY THEME: Honouring the Saints in Heaven.
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
_“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” *Matthew 5:12*_
As Christians, we believe that we are simply on a pilgrimage here on earth. We believe that the way and manner we live on earth determine what becomes of us after we die. As the book of Daniel declares: “many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” Daniel 12:2-3. These are the persons we honour today.
Given that none of us is able to visit heaven to confirm those who are there, we only base our judgment on the way and manner a person lived while on earth. As our first reading today puts it, we assume that anyone who has “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14) is most likely in heaven.
Nevertheless, we know that among the saints in heaven, only a tiny fraction have been recognized and declared so by the Church. Indeed, only a few persons have been lucky enough to have had a panel set up to investigate their lives after their death. That is why on a day like this, we try to give honour to all the saints both known and unknown and by so doing we deepen our own aspiration for Sainthood.
To achieve heaven is to become a saint but to be declared a saint by the church is a different ball game. Aspiring to sainthood is different from aspiring to be canonized after one’s death. It is sad to say that for a country like Nigeria, no one has yet been declared a saint despite the rich history of Christianity in this country. In fact, when we think of the Saints, we are more likely to picture a white person; sainthood looks like something far away from us. In truth, what is far away from us is not sainthood itself but the politics of canonization. We must strive to become saints and worry less about whether or not we would be declared as such.
In our second reading, St. John assures us that by virtue of our faith, we are already God’s children but we know we shall be like God because we shall see him as He is. What does it mean to be like God or to see God as He is? Jesus answers this question in today’s Gospel passage with the beatitudes. Jesus lists out the qualities to be found in those who will enjoy the glory of heaven.
These qualities include poverty of spirit, mourning for the sins of the world, meekness, hunger and thirst for righteousness, being merciful, purity of heart, peacemaking and persecution for righteousness’ sake. So long as we pursue these, we know that sainthood is sure for us.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, bless my aspiration for Sainthood. Amen.
Happy New Month. Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Solemnity of All Saints. Bible Study: Revelation 7:2-14, Psalm 24:1-6, 1st John 3:1-3 and Matthew 5:1-12).