Solemnity of All Saints
November 1, 2016 – Year C
Readings: Rv 7:2-4, 9-14 / Psalm 24 / 1 Jn 3:1-3 / Mt 5:1-12a
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
The expression, “All’s well that ends well,” popularized by Shakespeare, is interpreted by the Oxford Living Dictionary as another way of saying if the outcome of a situation is happy, it compensates for any previous difficulty. Tonight on the Feast of All Saints, we remember and honor all the men, women, and children who, in spite of their human frailties and struggles, faithfully followed Christ during their lives here on Earth. The outcome of their journey ends in being happy with God for all Eternity in Heaven. They each lived their lives in their own unique way. Just like all of us, they experienced life’s ups and downs. They may have fallen short of their calling as followers of Christ at some point in their lives, but they didn’t give up. They got up every time they fell and moved on, always relying, not on their own strength or power, but on God’s mercy.
Almost 40 years ago, in 1979, as a young seminarian, I had the wonderful privilege of being a member of a choir that sang for a Mass celebrated by the pope whom we now call St. John Paul II, when he was in the Philippines. His glowing faith, as he was just a few feet away from us giving us the blessing, is still clear in my mind’s eye. The experience still gives me a feeling of joy whenever I remember it. He was canonized a saint, and only God knows how grateful I am to have had the privilege to see him face to face. Many of us have seen him in person, but some of our parishioners here didn’t just see him; they actually had the chance to shake his hand and have dinner with him. He didn’t know us then, but he surely knows us now that he is in the company of Our Heavenly Father.
The good news for each of us is that we all – even the little children – have seen a saint sometime in our lives. These saints may even be members of your family. They may be your father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, great-grandfather, great-grandmother, sister, brother, son, daughter, or grandchildren, who are now in heaven. Some of them even attended Mass here at Holy Name of Mary. They sat in the same pews where you are sitting now. They prayed with us, and they continue to pray for us now that they are with Our Heavenly Father. We had the privilege to talk to them. We listened to their voices; we ate with them; we shared our problems and struggles and our lives with them. Today is their feast day.
We honor and thank them, not only for the good examples they have shone us, but we thank God because they continue to be very much a part of our lives. It’s true that we can no longer see them, but they can see us. We can no longer hear their voices giving us guidance and encouragement, but they can hear us when we talk to them in prayer. Although they can no longer be with us physically to offer comforting words during our most difficult moments, they can do something better: Since they are no longer limited by space and time, they can intercede for us wherever we are and wherever we go. Now, as we honor them in this Mass, let us ask for their prayers, not only tonight, but every single day of our lives. So that like theirs, our journey in this world may end happily, in God’s presence with all the saints and angels for all Eternity.