At the 10:30am Mass yesterday, we processed with a few kids dressed in elaborate saint’s costume along with the catechists. During the homily, I started with the story some of my friends including strangers often asked about the number of those attending Sunday Masses. I usually say roughly between two to three thousand and of course, they grinned. I don’t mind the laughter but in the Mass, we join with the company of Angels and Saints in heaven…”And so, we glorify you with the multitude of Saints and Angels , as with one voice of praise we acclaim…Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts…We are surrounded by a Cloud of Witnesses (Heb. 12:1)” We’re never alone…We worship with the gallery of the holy ones, with all the faithful who entered this tiny, humble, easily ignored, 200 capacity church.
The carved statues of Saints and the stained glass window of our very own St. Christopher at the west side of the church are powerful symbols of their presence with us. The invisible is the most real. Their images are windows to divine realities. They are our friends. In our joys and sorrows, successes and failures, even in our laughter mostly at the announcement period, they are one with us interceding for God.
RE kids and the catechists came up front and introduced their saints. I admire the catechists for leading by example. We’ll do it again. I don’t know what came to my mind but I shouldn’t have said this. I happened to ask one of the kids which costume does he like better, Halloween or Saints? Guess what? It wasn’t the answer I expected to hear…from the mouth of babes…wrong question…Thank God I avoided a 2nd try…I’ll be careful next time…
All Saints is a special day honoring the canonized, the official, the known as well as the unknown whose lives have been singlehandedly devoted to Christ perhaps members of our families, relatives and friends who didn’t simply teach us and left us inspiring words but showed us the example of Christian life, the stuff of Christianity. Often we make excuses. We put them in the pedestal and convince ourselves there’s no way we can be like them as they existed at a stage in history unfamiliar and detached to many of us. But, it’s the same scenario. Saints rise at difficult times. They step up to the plate and respond to the religious and spiritual needs of their times. That’s exactly what we need…the X factors.
After my last mass at Our Mother of Sorrows Church before heading out to St. James in Coolidge, a woman whose name I can’t remember hugged me and whispered, ‘you will be a blessing everywhere you go.’ That simple, saintly gesture stuck with me. Amen.