Homily for the Solemnity of All Saints Year A
Theme: The very purpose of our existence
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday November 1 2020
When we read of the lives of the saints and of the many good and golden things they achieved here on earth, they seem to us like fables. But in reality, they were human beings like each and every one us, with their strengths and weaknesses. Part of the essential elements that actually distinguished them was their firm believe in the power of grace and their humble submission to the direction and the operation of the grace of God in their lives. In the saints, we recognise what our common vocation is and the very purpose for which we were created. May all the saints of God in heaven intercede for us; Amen.
On the First of November every Year, the Church liturgically celebrates the victory of all of her sons and daughters, canonized and uncanonized, who have attained the glory of the heavenly realms. In honouring them with a special Feast like the one of today, the Church not only presents them to us as models to follow, but also celebrates her fruitfulness as well as thanking God who never ceases to make His grace available to all by the merits of Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit. In the Liturgy of today, we celebrate in concrete terms what we profess in the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe in the Communion of Saints.” This Communion involves a holy union of worship, of praise, of intercession, of honour and of adoration of God between the Triumphant Church (the Heavenly Church) and the Pilgrim Church (the Church here on earth still on her way to God). This holy union does not only strengthen members of the Pilgrim Church on their journey God, but also obtains the favour of final release for our brothers and sisters who presently are members of the Suffering Church in Purgatory. The First Reading (Rev 7:2-4, 9-14) speaks to us graciously about the universality of the Vocation to Sainthood (everybody from everywhere is called to Sainthood) and of the fact that the success story of the saints was not devoid of difficulties and challenges. The saints constitute “a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they are standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands… They have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb.” To be washed in the blood of Lamb means to accept and cooperate with the graces which God offer each and every one of us, through Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
One essential thing that leads one to holiness of life is the humility to submit to the power and direction of grace. It may sound very easy but indeed it is truly a hectic task; because grace always directs and leads us against the insinuations and seductions of the fallen human nature. It is the grace of God that makes one real and authentic. The ability to be real constitutes the initial stages to holiness of life. In fact, nobody can truly make progress in the Spiritual Life and in the life of virtue without first of all being real. To be real is manifest in two directions; namely the vertical direction and the horizontal direction. The vertical direction has to do with a sincere focus on God and a humble openness to His Words and commandments. The horizontal direction leads us to fruitfully and graciously encounter our fellow men and women inspired by our sincere vertical focus on God. Our focus and attentiveness to God illumines our path and brightens our encounter with one another. The meeting point of these two directions is the very locus for the manifestation and the operation of the grace from above. Actually, saints are products of grace; concrete signs of the power of grace in the midst of all men and women. Their common guide is seen in those powerful words of the Beatitudes pronounced by our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel Reading of today (Mt 5:1-12), confirming to us how happy and blessed are the saints. The attention of the saints to these words of Christ increased their faith, made more active and fruitful their love and also sustained their hope in the words of the Second Reading (I John 3:1-3); “all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like Him because we shall see Him as He really is.” The eternal delight of the Saints is the Beatific Vision of God. This holy and fascinating vision is the innermost desire of each one of us because “God created us to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him and to live with Him forever.” To live with God is to eternally delight in Him through the Beatific Vision. This we can also achieve if we humbly submit ourselves to the power and the direction of the grace from above.
Lord, how beautiful is the array of the saints standing before You in an eternal worship and adoration of Your infinite Majesty. Through their example and powerful intercession, and through our humble submission to the power and direction of Your grace, may we come to share in these heavenly delights; Amen.
Happy Solemnity of All Saints, Happy Sunday and Happy New Month; Fr Cyril CCE