Solemnity of All Saints
November 1, 2015 – Year B
Readings: Rv 7:2-4, 9-14 / Psalm 24 / 1 Jn 3:1-3 / Mt 5:1-12a
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
A few years ago when I was still a priest in Norfolk, I got a call to go to a nearby hospital. When I arrived I was met by a jolly male nurse who was dressed as a clown for Halloween. After he greeted me with “Happy Halloween,” he gave me a rare compliment on my outfit. He said, “Nice costume. You really look like a priest.” I told him I loved being a priest and he responded, “Well who knows, you might be a priest someday.”
The town of Bedford – especially Longwood Avenue – came alive last night for Halloween. It was fun seeing all of the beautiful costumes, masks and make-up. I didn’t even recognize some of our parishioners. Some of the costumes I saw were really works of art. As Jake Jiracek would tell us, it’s not easy to make those Halloween costumes; some take weeks. The easy part is taking the costumes, masks and make-up off.
At this time of year, most of our trees are doing what we call the “easy part” of Halloween. During the fall they remove their masks and make-up, also known as chlorophyll, to show their true colors.
Today we are honoring those men, women and children who showed their true colors as God’s children during their lifetime here on earth. Despite their human weaknesses and frailty, they lived their lives loving God, their neighbor and the rest of God’s creation; and now we call them saints. We honor those canonized saints who do not have a special calendar date set aside for them – since there are only 365 days in a year. We also honor the saints who are not officially canonized by the Church but have led such holy and virtuous lives that we believe they have a special place set aside for them in our Lord’s eternal kingdom. In today’s Gospel, they are the ones described by Jesus as the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, the peacemakers and the clean of heart.
Today’s feast of All Saints also serves as an inspiration for us. We know that where they are now, we hope to one day follow. We will see them again. I’ve said this several times and I will say it again – although we can no longer see them, they could see us, and although we can no longer hear them, they can hear us. As we are here today worshiping our living God, they are here with us in spirit, praying with us and for us. Some here may have the gift of hearing them. But no matter whether we have the gift or not, we should always know that they are with us in spirit and their power to intercede for us is beyond measure. Many of these men and women we honor today are relatives and friends. Some are written on our prayer list and cards. We will continue to pray for and with them through the month of November.
In today’s second reading which is taken from the first letter of John, the apostle said, “We are God’s children now. What we shall be has not been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.” In the meantime, we ask our Lord that through the intercession of all the saints that we may always show our true colors as sons and daughters of God.