Sunday November 1st 2020: Read Br Michael’s Gospel Reflection The Feast of All the Saints
The call to be Holy
Today in union with the whole Church, we celebrate the Feast of All Saints. When I was a child I remember my mother saying to me when I was misbehaving that I was no saint! I also recall the pictures and statues of saints in my local church. They were large, imposing and literally always out of reach. These saints were perhaps presented as being other worldly and very different from us and our ordinary lives. Being older and just a little wiser, I now know this not to be true.
These men and women to whom we look as examples of how to follow Jesus weren’t born saints. They became saints slowly and gradually over the course of their lives. These are the Holy Ones of God, the Communion of Saints to whom we are connected through our prayer and the celebration of the sacraments. It was because of how they lived and in many cases how they died that they became saints. They are now held up to us as roles models of how to follow Jesus. Many of these saints date back to the earliest beginnings of the Christian community, the Church. Many are famous, well known and whose name and story we know well. We may even have our own favourite patron saint after whom we ourselves have been named. Who is your favourite saint?
I suggest that it would be a mistake to look only to these ‘official’ saints and not to those in our own families and among our friends who because of their faith and Christian living could also be rightly called ‘saints’. We think of those who nurtured and nourished our faith and taught us how to pray. We call to mind those whose lives have left a precious and sacred mark on our own. Can we name those whom we admire and look up to; in other words, ‘holy ones’ of God and saints? We remember, recall them and thank God for them too.
What of you and I? Are we not also meant to be saints? Are we not called and even challenged to live holy lives every day? The gospel today is the Sermon on the Mount; the Beatitudes. Jesus describes clearly the qualities that are required to follow him. We are to be poor in spirit; that is we are to depend humbly on God. We are to be gentle and to and work for justice and for what is right. We are asked to be merciful, pure in heart and to be peacemakers. There will also be times when we will be attacked and even persecuted because we are followers of Jesus. This is the job description of a saint! We remember Maximilian Kolbe who freely gave his life for a man in a concentration camp on August 14 1941 and who was canonised on October 10 in 1982. We recall Oscar Romero, archbishop of San Salvador, who was murdered while saying mass on March 24 1980. He was canonised on October 14 2015.
You and I may never be asked to give our lives so radically, but we are never the less called to live our daily lives as best we can, believing we are called to be saints. As St. Paul reminds us; ‘You are God’s chosen race, his saints, he loves you and you are to be clothed in compassion, kindness and humility.’ (Col. 3.12)
Oscar Wilde encourages us with these words; let us be not be too quick to judge others, every saint was once a sinner and every sinner is called to be saint. There is hope for each and every one of us to become a saint.
– Br Michael Moore OMI
|Gospel||Matthew 5:1-12a ©|
How happy are the poor in spirit
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