25 Oct 2019 | Posted by: chadmin
One of my favorite messages of the Bible is the first line in the reading from Sirach this Sunday. “The Lord is a God of justice, who knows no favorites.” God has no favorites! The reading emphasizes that God is aware of the needs of the widow, the orphan, the weak, the needy and the lowly. Although the Scriptures make ‘God cares for the outsider’ a message of importance and focus, it is true that God has no favorites. This message is for everyone and a message everyone must ponder. As Christians, we are called to follow Jesus; we are called to be disciples. The goal of discipleship is not only following Jesus, it is living a life in communion with His truth that is personal to each of us. This personal encounter with Jesus necessitates that we believe that God loves all of us personally and the same. God has no favorites! The belief that God truly wills our good allows us to see our spiritual potential. If we believe God has no favorites, then we can envision God guiding, loving, and forgiving each of us, just as His grace blessed the lives of each Christian Saint. When you enter church, pray the Mass, receive Communion, or mediate on the Christian Mysteries, allow your heart to believe in your personal potential to be a saint.
On November 1, we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints. On this feast day, we celebrate all those who lived lives worthy of modeling. In many ways, this should be a daily celebration, but the Church sets aside this day to both reflect on those who lived spiritually successful lives and challenge us to seek the same. As I’ve studied the lives of saints over the years, I’ve learned about the many diverse ways to reach God. Some saints have an intellectual awakening, driven by the Creed that challenges how one thinks about the world and God. Others have emotional or spiritual encounters that are felt experiences which lead to a deeper communion with God. The reality is that each of us, as individuals, experiences God and the world in different ways. While sin and virtue are related to the process of reason, we arrive at the importance of choosing God in different ways. I do think we see a convergence. No matter how our spiritual lives first awaken, the reality is that belief in God and the words and actions that express this belief. We celebrate the saints because no matter the challenge, difficulty, or divine inspiration, they all chose to say and do the things that led to heaven. Because there are so many saints, it is important to reflect more deeply on individual saints who resonate with our lives. This challenges us to live and think like them. The saints challenge us to pray and read the scriptures. From these personal challenges come the strength we need to put God first in our lives. As we celebrate all the saints this weekend, may we ask the Lord for courage and strength to daily say “yes” to His way of holiness in order to prepare ourselves for our heavenly encounter.
As we begin the month of November, we celebrate not only the Solemnity of All Saints, but also the feast of All Souls. These two feasts of the Church challenge the way we live our lives and our thoughts about eternal life. The Bible is an invitation to know and love God. Our love of God impels us to love one another in daily life. We celebrate “All Saints” because we want to be like them and we want their prayers for us. We remember “All Souls” because we know that we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. The remembering of every soul that has passed from this life to the next, invites us to invoke the mercy of God. Whether we pray for deceased family members and loved ones, or for people we only know by name, we pray the love of Christ concurs sin and death, while inviting all into the kingdom of Heaven. The reality of Purgatory, as a place of purification for those who die with attachments to this world, calls us to pray for forgiveness. May the Lord have mercy on all the faithful departed.