Solemnity of All Saints

Nov. 1, 2017


Faith gives believers insights on what heaven will be like. And many saints added more understanding through their visions, describing in detail what this heavenly scene is like. But today’s feast day of All Saints gives another perspective. It clearly teaches believers that in heaven, as on earth, the faithful will live in community. This community contains relationships made on earth, giving believers hope that loved ones will continue in heaven. Reflecting on the Communion of Saints, we see the connection between earth and heaven as heartwarming and encouraging. This motivates us to follow Jesus as the only true way to obtain this glorious reward.

All disciples of the Lord — past, present and future — are bound together by the blood of Christ and baptism. The saints help those yet to come — and those yet to go — to ask them with open hearts and lips to help in their quest to gain entrance into heaven.

This vignette is from Mark Twain. It is on how to get to heaven. A businessman told Mark Twain quite piously: “Before I die I intend to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I want to climb to the top of Mount Sinai and read the Ten Commandments aloud.” Mark Twain responded, “I have a better idea, stay home and live them!” Twain knew that sincere actions bring heaven closer than a multitude of insincere ones.

It is this sincerity that Jesus offers in the beatitudes. Each paints a picture of what we can expect in heaven. Each forecast that the injustices of this world will not last forever. In fact, in heaven they will be wiped away. The beatitudes (and St. Paul) encourage all still on the journey to remain faithful through difficult times by following Christ. The beatitudes encourage disciples to place the interests of God before all else in their lives. If they do, God the Father sees them, and they are not forgotten.

Honoring all saints today gives a preview of God’s feast of eternal love, with all guests attending wearing the traditional wedding garments. At this banquet sit many saints known and prayed to, and alongside them are the personal saints only we know. These ordinary people became extraordinary because they choose to follow Christ. These partakers of the banquet shout that we can do the same. Their home awaits. Today they call us forth.

Homily Helps for the October issue were written by FATHER RICHARD R. DE LILLIO, OSFS, D. Min., an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, who is a recently retired associate professor of homiletics at The Catholic University of America.