Date: Sunday, November 01, 2020
We are discovering new ways to communicate. In this covid-19 reality, I was able to interview our teen confirmation candidates on ZOOM on their readiness to receive the Sacrament. I asked each girl and boy the patron saint she or he had chosen. I recognized all the saints except two: St. Lelia and St. Zita. I learned Lelia lived during the 6th century in Limerick, Ireland. She was a Superior of a convent in Munster and her great grandfather was a Prince baptized by St. Patrick. Zita lived from 1218 to 1278. She was born on Monte Sagrati, Italy and at the age of 12 she became a servant of a wool dealer in Lucca. She won over the other servants by her diligence and holiness. She is remembered for alleviating the misery of criminal in prison and is the patron saint of servants. These two saints now enjoy a spiritual bond with two girls in our confirmation class in the 21st century.
Today, we celebrate the feast of All Saints. Saints are not perfect. If I had the chance to interview them using a ZOOM heavenly connection, I trust that they would confess that they were sinners who had experienced God’s mercy. In our first reading from the Book of Revelation, St. John sees “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.’” They are acknowledged as the ones who have survived the great distress. They have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb. We do not achieve holiness by our own effort. We share in God’s sanctity.
In our second reading, a Letter of St. John, John writes to the Johannine community, that the Father’s love bestowed on them has made them “children of God.” Who they will come to be has not yet been revealed but they will be like God and see God face to face. In the Gospel according to St. Matthew, Jesus begins his Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes. The promised blessedness or happiness is not just in heaven but to some degree here on earth. The ingredients of happiness are: living simply aware of our own poverty, mourning our loses and sins and the loses of others, living humbly with mercy, sincerity and purity of heart, hungering for justice, thirsting for righteousness and striving for peace, and enduring persecution and rejection for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Today, we celebrate the happiness of the saints in heaven and come to appreciate our baptismal call to holiness. Together, we make a wonderful community – the Communion of Saints.