Families like to brag about their famous relatives. Even if it is a distant relative. If somewhere in our family history there is a legendary leader, the discoverer of some scientific or medical breakthrough, a hero in saving lives, a sports icon, a millionaire, rock star, movie star…if we are somehow related, we like other people to know.
The feast of All the Saints is about our Catholic family bragging about our relatives. The saints are those who have gone before us that we believe are in heaven. They are esteemed by our faith family because in their lives on earth they demonstrated things like compassion for the poor, care for the sick, zeal for social justice, vigilance in handing on the authentic teachings of the Church, courage in dying for their faith, keen attentiveness to their spiritual life and more.
On All Saints Day, our celebration of the saints is not a mere exercise in honoring them. We also observe this day for ourselves as a reminder that all of us are called to full life with God in heaven. With our feet firmly planted on earth, we are reminded that as we build the Kingdom of God through our lives here, we look heavenward as well. We are saints in the making.
The earthly journey is difficult. It was for the saints, too. They struggled to live as Jesus taught. At this election time, in casting our votes, we are called to keep in mind our Church’s teaching regarding upholding the dignity of the human person from the first moment of conception until natural death. This dignity means that all persons have the right to food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, education, and gainful employment. We are to have a preferential option for the poor, meaning that all that we do is to be measured by what we are doing to serve those who have the least. Both political parties fall short in fully embracing all these values. Rather than not voting at all, the Church encourages our participation in the electoral process and to make choices that, in the personal sanctuary of our good conscience, most fully represent our Catholic values. Walking in the footsteps of the saints, we ask for their intercession to guide us in our decisions.
On All Saints Day we are a proud family thanking God for the officially canonized saints of the Church as well as the saints that we have personally known and hugged. Relying on the help of their prayers and the support of each other, who knows, maybe someday the family will be bragging about us too.
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher Smith, Rector