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11/1/15 All Saints Day - Deacon Ron

Homily Summary for 111.1.15            Solemnity of All Saints – Beatitudes

Deacon Ron Landry

 

Research tells us most Catholics believe in Heaven, but many are dubious at best that any all-loving, merciful God would ever "send" anyone to Hell. So they really doubt its existence. And for that matter, a great many Catholics consider Satan no more than just a symbol—he's not real, but merely a personification of evil. Furthermore, there is a pervasive attitude on the part of many that, simply put: "I haven't killed anybody, I haven't cheated on my spouse, I'm basically a good person—so, therefore, I'm good to go. In other words, when I die I'm going to Heaven. Nothing to do but...wait."

And that, my sisters and brothers in Christ, is the most frightening reminder of this time in the liturgical calendar. Not ghosts and goblins, but a failure to attend to our spiritual lives. Because the fact is, if we hope to go to Heaven then we must live our lives in a manner that is a consistent and resounding testimony to our love of, and surrender to, Almighty God. Christianity—done well—is challenging. It is active.

If the gateway to Heaven is merely avoiding horrendous sin and standing by patiently until we die, then why did our Lord preach the Beatitudes we heard in today's gospel?  Those are no less than eight specific guidelines on what we must do—not terrible sins we must avoid—but actions we must take in order to even aspire to the Beatific Vision. Evidently, merely dying isn't enough.

And if the Catholic Church were to believe that death alone was the gateway to Heaven, then why are we encouraged to pray for the dead, and why have a specific Commemoration for All Souls—when we not only remember the dead, but are encouraged to apply our efforts, through prayer, almsgiving, and the Mass, to their release from Purgatory.

A saint, the Church teaches, is someone through whom we can glimpse what God is like. A foretaste of what you and I are called to be. That bears repeating: as Catholic Christians, it is our mandated role—by the authority and commission of Jesus Christ himself—that you and I become saints. We may not necessarily ever be canonized, but each and everyone of us is called to sainthood...To spend eternity in Heaven with Almighty God.

All Souls Day and the Solemnity of All Saints hold extraordinary hope for us. We pray for the souls in Purgatory knowing that they are in preparation to spend their eternity with Almighty God. They cannot pray on their own behalf for release from Purgatory—but you and I can, with the assurance that our prayers will help lessen their experience. As for the saints we venerate today, we are reminded once again in no uncertain terms that as Catholic Christians it is literally expected of us that we will someday be with Almighty God in Heaven. That we will someday be...saints.

My sisters and brothers in Christ: Let's do this!

 

See you in Heaven! 

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