THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

good-shepherd-2Dear Brothers and Sisters,

What is a saint? Far too often we think of saints as those people who are really good and we are not among them. We forget that we are all called to be saints and to live our lives completely for God. The First Letter of John makes the point that we are children of God. This is a gift of the Father’s love. Perhaps we don’t always feel very much that we are children of God and in our modern world so much of reality is based on feeling. John wants us to know that we are children of God. From that knowledge we can begin to act come to accept the reality that we are children of God. The Gospel from Matthew today describes how a believer tries to live: poor in spirit, mourning, meek, seeking righteousness, merciful, clean of heart, peacemakers and accepting persecution. We may find ourselves a long way apart from these values and ways of living, but we can still choose to embrace them because it is the invitation of God Himself. At times it even seems that when a person embraces even one of these beatitudes, then all the others come along. The challenge is to recognize that I can choose this way of living because it is Jesus Himself inviting me. It is not my own human strength. I am a child of God and a brother or sister of the Lord. All of this helps us realize why we celebrate this Solemnity of All Saints today.

These ordinary women and men became great because of their commitment to the Lord Jesus. These women and men sought God as the main focus of their lives. These women and men served others with love. The number of the saints includes Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Jewish people, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and every other brand or type of person, including those who never even explicitly believed. We Catholics venerate in a special way the Catholic saints recognized by our Church even as we also recognize that saints have always been living in our own times and are found among all peoples and beliefs. We Catholics believe in a “communion of the saints,” which means that all who have died and all who still live are able to touch one another’s lives in some mysterious way. Those who are with God are still able to intercede for our wellbeing and we are able to be in relationship with them. Our faith is not about being alone, but about being with all others through all eternity. Let us rejoice with them!

Father Jesus