Homily Feast of all Saints Year A Holiness is possible

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Homily: Feast of all Saints Year A

 Reading 1: Throughout the year we celebrate and remember the many canonized saints. These are the people, who have lived exemplary lives or given their lives for the sake of their faith in Jesus. But the Church today also recognizes the countless saints. who are not canonized, but who are in the presence of God. We hope to be among them one day.

John identifies  some characteristics of both the canonized and the unknown saints. First, they were sealed with the sign of salvation, the sign of the cross. Before and after being  baptized we are signed with the sign of the cross, the sign of our salvation and victory over sin. Secondly, he says we were given a white robe, symbolizing our new life in Christ through whose blood we have been redeemed. Recall the words of Isaiah: "Though yours are scarlet, I will make you white as snow. The palm branch is the symbol of our victory in Christ.

What do saints do in heaven? Their purpose for being created was to praise God. Here, John says they cry out in a loud voice, praising and thanking God for his gift of salvation and eternal life. They bow down and worship him in spirit and in truth.

Reading 2: In the psalm and in the second reading gives us the reason why we are to look forward to being with God. First, we are the people who long to see his face. We are his sons and daughters, children of God, made so by the love of the Father through the death and resurrection of his Son and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

We belong to God. So what must we do in response to this great gift and future promise. Seek to be holy as he is holy. What does the life of holiness look like? It is a life of love, a life of putting on the mind of Jesus Christ.

Gospel: This life of holiness is partially reflected in the Beatitudes. Jesus teaches that the Beatitudes are to become our way of life and thinking,  In stead of being haughty and greedy, we are called to be poor in spirit, totally depending on God for everything. Recognizing our sins and the sins of the world, we weep in repentance for them. 

In stead of seeking honors or signs of acknowledgement from others, we accept ourselves as we are. We seek to do our best to please God.  Above all we seek to be holy. We try to show the same mercy to others which God has shown to us. We desire to keep our mind and heart focus on God rather than be distracted by the world around us. We desire to be a peacemaker. When we are persecuted, we look to Jesus who was also persecuted. 

Is this way of life easy? No but not impossible. How do we know? The countless number of saints in heaven, especially the unknown. They walked this path and attest to its possibility and attainment.

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