All Saints Day
Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14
Psalm 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab, 5-6 (see 6)
1 John 3:1-3
November 1, 2022
There are numerous people who have been canonized as saints in our Catholic Church. Each of them has their own feastday.
For example. St. John Fisher, who is the patron saint of our diocese shares June 22nd with St. Thomas More for his feastday. St. Benedict, namesake of our church in Odessa, has his feastday on July 11th. The archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael share a feastday on September 29th. St. Francis of Assisi’s is October 4th. St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, who was the first American citizen to be canonized, feastday is November 13th.
With so many saints canonized, on each day of the year there are numerous saints’ feastday.
Yet, for all the saints that are canonized, there are many more. Canonization does not make one a saint. Canonization recognizes that the person is already a saint. A saint is one who is in Heaven.
We celebrate All Saints’ Day mindful of the saints not known by name.
If being a saint isn’t dependent on canonization, what determines a saint?
Saints are those who have the seal on the forehead. We enter the Communion of Saints in Baptism. During the Rite of Baptism, we are marked with the Sign of the Cross on our foreheads. We are made children of God.
That alone does not make us saints. The Beatitudes speak of what must be in our hearts if we are saints. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the Kingdom of heaven…Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied…Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.”
Clean of heart? We dirty our hearts when we sin. How are we to be clean of heart? Revelation describes the saints as those wearing white robes. White is a sign of purity but how are we to be pure, to be clean if we have sins. Revelation also says, “they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”
Yes, we have sinned but we allow Jesus to make us clean when we confess our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Then our robes are made “white in the Blood of the Lamb.”
Who can be saints? Revelation tells of “the vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
Everyone can be a saint. Everyone can be in Heaven. It is not dependent on our nation, race, people, or tongue. It is dependent on us giving our hearts to God. This is what it means to be “poor in spirit.” It is when we are “poor in spirit” that God welcomes us to the “Kingdom of heaven.”
We are created to know God. We look for happiness in this world but we can only find true joy with God. It is when we realize this, we become the people who long to see God’s face.
The Bible contains images of Heaven. Yet, we don’t know exactly what Heaven will be like. What we do know is that when we are saints in Heaven we will be with God. What more do you want?