YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF ALL SAINTS
HOMILY THEME: SECRET OF THE SAINTS
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
In the company of the saints, we see the manifestation of the glory of God and the realization of the promises of God. In them is realized the goal of the Christian life and in them we see the models of how God wants us to live and who He wants us to be. May our celebration of today continue to assist us to shed off our imperfections and to progressively take on the form of similitude to the God-man, Jesus Christ the Emmanuel; Amen.
On a day like this, one is poised to remember those beautiful words of Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate on the call to holiness in today’s world in which he reproposed “the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time, with all its risks, challenges and opportunities.” The saints, in the different epochs they lived, marked by their unique challenges and difficulties, had this evergreen call in mind. They were conscious of the invitation to be holy as our heavenly Father is holy. Today, we not only celebrate the saints, but on the other hand, we remind ourselves of whom we are called to be. The Christian life is geared towards holiness of life and this involves every state of life that is lived in the Church, either as a lay person or as religious or as a clergy. That holiness of life is possible in our different spheres of life is manifested in the rank and file of the saints. The huge number of people “impossible to count from every nation, race, tribe and language” reported in the First Reading of Today (Rev. 7:2-4, 9-14) affirms the fact that the door to holiness of life is open to all and that many people are making sincere effort to enter through it. Irrespective of the challenges and difficulties that abound in our times and especially the obvious deception in some quarters that suggests that holiness is unappetizing for the generation of today, this reading clears our minds of all doubts and affirms the truth of the fact that there are countless number of people searching for and living in holiness of life. It is a call and a gift given to all generations. The saints we celebrate today belong to this same stock in the past, for what we are now they were, and what they are now is our innermost desire.
On a day like this, we cannot but ask ourselves these questions; what was the secret of the saints? What was the secret of their success? Were they human like us? Were they subject to the same human weaknesses and limitations like we experience in our own lives? Of course a big yes to all of these questions. They were human just like us. The difference is that they were never afraid of holiness. They never thought that holiness makes us less human. They never thought that holiness robs us of our vitality and joy. On the other hand “holiness does not make us less human, since it is an encounter between our weaknesses and the power of God’s grace.” Their secret was exposed to us in the Gospel Reading of today (Mt 5:1-12). The eight beatitudes form sure paths to the realization of the goal of our Christian vocation. The eight beatitudes help us to be similar to Christ. The eight beatitudes are sure paths to the Beatific Vision which is one thing all the saints have in common for, in the words of the Second Reading, “when it is revealed we shall be like Him because we shall see Him as He really is” (I Jn 3:1-3). The greatest happiness is to see God as He is and the greatest blessedness is to be with God forever. What else could be the content of the Beatific Vision which the saints enjoy? This is the fruit of God’s love for us and our positive response to this love through which we are His sons and daughters.
May this company of God’s successful children, through their powerful intercession, obtain for us graces from the throne of mercy, especially for the grace of holiness of life; Amen.
Happy Feast of all the Saints and Happy New Month; Fr Cyril CCE