Tuesday, 1 November 2016 : Solemnity of All Saints, All Saints’ Day (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the great Feast and Solemnity of All Saints, when we celebrate together with the whole Church the holy men and women, all those who have been deemed righteous by the Church, worthy of the eternal glory of heaven which God had prepared for them, and which He has also prepared for all of us who remain true to Him in faith.

Brothers and sisters, the celebrations of today, the All Saints’ Day, and tomorrow, the All Souls’ Day, are designed to remind us of the existence of three parts of the Church, both in this world and beyond. And they are the Church Triumphant, the Church Militant and the Church Suffering, each of which are helping each other, particularly that of the Church Militant and Church Suffering in the goal of reaching out to the Lord and to His salvation.

The Church Militant refers to us all who belong to the Church and still living in this world, carrying out our daily activities and works, and that is why we are called the Church Militant, for we should know that every single moment of our earthly life, we are always locked in that constant struggle between the Lord and those He had sent to our aid, our guardian Angels, against those seeking our downfall, chief of which is the devil, Satan, the evil one, whose designs for us are intended to drag us with him into eternal damnation in hell.

Meanwhile those in the Church Suffering are those who have left this earthly life before us, those who have died and yet deemed to be worthy enough to escape eternal damnation in hell, but because of their sins in life, small and venial, not mortal sins, they were deemed to be still unworthy to directly enter the kingdom of God, for sin has no place in the sight of God.

And thus they are suffering now the consequences of their sins, being purified in the holy flames of purgatory, as the Church taught us about the fate of those who were deemed worthy and yet still bearing the remnants of their venial and unrepented sins, which became a barrier in their path to the Lord. They are suffering because they are so close to God, and yet they are not yet able to be with Him until the time comes when their sins are completely absolved.

So, brethren, what about the Church Triumphant? This is the focus of our celebrations today, as the Church Triumphant refers to the holy men and women which by the virtues of their lives, have been deemed to be worthy enough and good enough to merit directly the glory of heaven upon the end of their earthly lives. And therefore, these are the saints we have today, those whom God had raised into heavenly glory to be our role model, and indeed as our helpers.

What does this mean, brethren? First of all, perhaps we should understand first what it means by the term saints. The saints are not deities or gods, as some of us may have misunderstood who they really are. It is not like those in other false faiths and pagans, who prayed to dead people and asked them to do miracles for them, or to grant them something good based on these dead people’s own powers.

Instead, the saints are just like us, brothers and sisters in Christ, and they used to live on this earth as we now do. It is not that like in some mythologies where some men or women became superman or superwoman because they gained some magical or supernatural powers and then used these to bring good or bad things on others. In fact, saints were sinners like us too, and some of the saints were once great and unrepentant sinners, until one moment in their respective lives when they decided to change their lives.

St. Augustine of Hippo for example, was a delinquent young man who caused his mother, St. Monica, plenty of worries and troubles. He lived through all sorts of debauchery and wickedness, and he wandered through one woman to another, fathering even a child with one of them. It seemed that he would go down that path to his ruin, as one after another, he experienced all the vile deeds of the world.

And yet, through the continuous prayers and never-ending support from his mother, and through his own gradual understanding and discovery that his ways had been wrong, eventually he turned around in his life and dedicated his life from then on in righteousness and obedience to God. Through his many works, writings and efforts, he had done so many good things to those whom he had met and touched, and therefore became a source of inspiration for many others.

That is one example of who saints were, and what they had eventually become. St. Francis of Assisi, the renowned holy man and founder of the Franciscan order was once the son and heir of a rich textile merchant, while St. Ignatius of Loyola was the heir and son of another powerful family in Spain, both of whom were brought up to enjoy earthly life in wealth and revelry, but eventually they also realised that what they were doing were not what satisfied them, and therefore they repented and changed their ways, and thereafter became the sources of inspiration for many others, many of whom also eventually became saints themselves.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we rejoice in the glory of the holy saints of God, first of all we have to understand that each and every one of us has the potential to become a saint ourselves, as if we have done what the Lord had asked us to do, and even more, going forward to show love, mercy, care and compassion to those who need these, and inspire many others to do the same, then we will also be found faithful, worthy and just to enter into the glory of heaven, sharing together the joy of the saints we celebrate today.

Then secondly, we should know what the saints can do to help us all still living in this world. They are our intercessors, those who pray for us on our behalf, asking God to show His mercy and guidance to us, and through our request for their intercession, they helped us in guiding our prayers to God, for after all, they are in heaven, at the sides of the Lord.

And indeed, the greatest of all saints is Mary, the Mother of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, and thus that is why in the Church we also have a very strong devotion to Mary, for through her and her prayers, as she once did in the wedding at Cana, she helped us all in the same manner as her petitions and requests for her Son to help the struggling wedding couple was heard and fulfilled.

The saints are praying for us all the time, and they all are aware of our sufferings and our current state, particularly that many of us who are still heading down the path towards eternal damnation and downfall. They are always working together with our guardian Angels, those whom God had sent to us to help us, so that we will be able to prevail through the difficulties and challenges found in this world, and eventually be able to find our way to God’s salvation and grace.

And last of all, let us all be inspired by the examples of the saints themselves, that we may find our way to God’s salvation by doing what the saints and the Church had shown and taught us to do. For the saints are like stained glass in the churches that we see and often adore because of their beauty. An untempered and undecorated stained is not beautiful, but once it has been decorated and completed, it becomes a sign of beauty, when light passes through it and illuminate the entire church building.

Therefore, in the same manner, we ourselves are empty vessels without meaning if we have no God living truly inside of us. It is God’s light in the saints that made them to have such amazing lives filled with righteousness and good deeds, and through them, God’s works are made evident in this world, inspiring many others to follow them, and we can do the same as well.

As we rejoice today, let us thus not forget what each of us Christians can do and can become, that is as the reflections of the saints, which in turn are the reflections of God and His light. Let us all be beacons of light for the world, and be not afraid to do what we can in order to evangelise and spread the Good News, lighting up the way to our brethren, particularly those who are still not aware of God and His ways, and those who have lost their way amidst the persuasions and temptations of this world.

May the Lord help us on our journey, and may the inspirations of the holy saints become our sustenance and strength, that we too may share in their glory at the end of our own earthly lives, as we have done what the Lord asked us to do, and even more, helping one another to draw ever closer to the Lord our God. Amen.

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