Homily for the Feast of All Saints
Theme: The goal of Christian life
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Friday November 1 2019
Annually, the first two days of the month of November, namely in the Solemnity of all Saints and in the Commemoration of all Souls, bring us to concretely and partly celebrate what we profess in the Apostle’s Creed, “I believe in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” The Solemnity of all Saints invites us to celebrate the realisation of the goal of the Christian life and vocation in a multitude of our brothers and sisters who kept the flame of faith alive to the end. As we celebrate the merits of God’s grace and the glorification of God in their lives, may we also be strengthened to keep our gaze firm on our ultimate destination so as to overcome all forms of distractions; Amen.
The Apocalyptic vision of the beloved apostle John in the First Reading of today (Rev 7:2-4, 9-14) gives us an indication of the universal nature of the array of the Saints; “a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands.” God gave the opportunity to holiness of life and to be saints to all peoples; it is a door open to all who are truly determined to pay the price by following the Lamb wherever He goes. The great news is the fact that the reward is far much worth the price. In fact, the price is very inferior compared to the magnitude of what is in store for those who struggle on daily basis, assisted by God’s grace, to be faithful, for “we shall be like Him because we shall see Him as He really is” (I Jn 3:1-3). What could be more beautiful and satisfying than an encounter and an eternal contemplation of the face of God? Therein is contained the ultimate satisfaction of our innermost heart desires. A sincere search for this face is however manifest in a life lived in love, “the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God’s children.” This love opens us up to God, our Origin and End. This loves lubricates our relationship with our brothers and sisters, helping us to steadily grow less conscious of ourselves and our egos, and to progressively grow more conscious of the good and flourishing of our brothers and sisters because “In seeking God, we quickly realize that no one is self-sufficient. Rather, we are called, in the light of faith, to move beyond self-centredness, drawn by God’s Holy Face and by the _sacred ground of the other_ , to an ever more profound experience of communion” (Vultum Dei Quaerere, n. 1). This love enables us to pay the price by doing good and avoiding evil. From this flow the happiness and blessedness which Jesus Christ invites us to in the Gospel Reading (Mt 5:1-12) as Christians.
The Christian life is a happy and blessed style of life and the saints who have succeeded in living this style of life are eternally happy and blessed. Certainly, “a Christian cannot think of his or her mission on earth without seeing it as a path of holiness, _for this is the will of God, your sanctification_ (1 Thess 4:3). Each saint is a mission, planned by the Father to reflect and embody, at a specific moment in history, a certain aspect of the Gospel” (Gaudete et Exsultate, n. 19). Every one of us is called to historically locate himself or herself, through personal commitment and collaboration, in this company of human beings like us who are now sharing in full measure the blessedness of heaven. This is to say that “holiness does not make us less human, since it is an encounter between our weakness and the power of God’s grace. For in the words of León Bloy, when all is said and done, _the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint_ ” (Gaudete et Exsultate, n. 34). Whenever we dispose ourselves, our human weakness becomes the fertile ground for the manifestation of the power of God’s grace, for wherever and whenever the weakness of human nature speaks to us that it is impossible, the grace of God doubly assures us of the possibility. The necessary bridge between our weakness and the powerful manifestation of God’s grace in us is our yes; our personal fiat/amen to God. Truly, “such are the men and women who seek Your face, O Lord.”
Lord God, Reward of the Saints, may we never give in to the futilities and distractions of this world as to lose sight of the ever glowing splendour of your Face so as to one day join the Company of the Saints; Amen. Happy Solemnity of All Saints and Happy New Month; Fr Cyril CCE