Solemnity of All Saints Lectionary: 667 Reading 1 I, John, saw another angel come up from the East, holding the seal of the living God. He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were given power to damage the land and the sea, “Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand marked from every tribe of the children of Israel. After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.” All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They prostrated themselves before the throne, worshiped God, and exclaimed: “Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me, “Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.” He said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.” Responsorial Psalm R. (see 6) Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face. The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it. For he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face. Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD? or who may stand in his holy place? One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain. R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD, a reward from God his savior. Such is the race that seeks him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob. R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face. Reading 2 Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure. Alleluia R. Alleluia, alleluia. Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, says the Lord. R. Alleluia, alleluia. Gospel When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” Homily - Feast of All Saints Deacon Bill Gallerizzo - St Pius X Catholic Church - South Yarmouth, MA When we think of Traditional Religious Art there is a particular recognizable protocol; a saint is pictured in deep contemplative prayer, hands folded, eyes either looking humbly downward, or a ray of heavenly light illuminating the face while the saint looks heavenward. So much art with this common protocol has given us the impression that saints were prayerful, and the living a religious life, a life in God’s service requires that we become contemplative, and there is no room for excitement, passion, and emotion in faith. If we were to only see photographs, our opinions of people and their life style would not even come close to how they acted in real life. To get a better idea, we might have to read a biography or see a film or video. In the art, we see the saints captured at a moment in time that the artist decided would epitomize the spirituality and faith of the saint. Actually, part of the reason the last three popes have gone the extra mile to canonize modern examples of sainthood, saints whose existence has been more documented and more in tune with our times, because spirituality and sainthood are timeless, and saints were all normal people doing normal things of their times in extraordinary ways. They have wanted to emphasize the concept that we are all called to sainthood as a process of following Christ’s instruction to us to follow Him to the Father. Will everyone achieve sainthood? It depends on whether or not we end up with God in the afterlife. It is not a matter of predestination or predetermined by baptism or religious persuasion. It all depends on how we act and react in this life in relation to the lives God has set before us. Certainly, we all have encountered hose we might consider holy people, but no one achieves sainthood in this life, but it is a function of what we do in this life to have achieved it in the next. The straight and narrow road to God is a lot of wishful thinking. It does not exist. We each have a different road, each with its own width, its own windings, its own ruts and potholes, and that road is one that lasts a lifetime. Sometimes God puts the nuances there by His decisions, and sometimes we put them there by our decisions. No one lives a life without some kinds of challenges, each with its own advantages and disadvantages, good points and bad points, opportunities to sin or to avoid sin. Actually how we live in the face of those challenges is what directs our path away from God or toward God and sainthood. It just doesn’t happen any other way. Saints lived lives doing as Christ would do, for others regardless of who was on the receiving end, but they also learned to be gracious receivers as well no matter who was on the giving end. Some saints pretty much stayed in their own regions, whereas others traveled to distant lands. Some were well-to-do, while others were everyday people. Some were priests, deacons and religious, while others were laity. Some died natural deaths, while others were martyred for the faith. For each of us, there are holy people who faced some of the same issues we each have faced, who can serve as models for how we live our lives and how we can travel that road. The only formula is following the path to the Father, without picking and choosing, being Christ-like to all others we encounter by loving God, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.