Friday--Solemnity of All Saints

Criteria to Be Called Saint

Joke: A Sunday school teacher asked his class, “If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into Heaven? “NO!” they all answered. “If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into Heaven?” Again, the answer was, “NO!” Again the teacher asked, “Well, then, if I were kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, and loved my wife, would that get me into Heaven?” Again, they all answered, "NO!" “Well then how can I get into Heaven?” A five-year-old boy shouted out, “YOU GOTTA BE DEAD!”

“You gotta be dead!” Perhaps, it is our understanding that we ought to die in order to be united with the Lord in heaven with all the saints and all the heavenly hosts. Is it so? In all today’s readings, the Church invites us to examine the lives of the saints to see how have they got sanctified to be saints? Is it when they know Christ and live a life of Christ? How do they know Christ and live the life of Christ if it’s not through the legacy, the Beatitudes that he left for us reported in today’s Gospel?

How would one become saint? In the Church’s calendar, we averagely celebrate a feast of a saint daily for 365 days of a year, every year. Let’s maximum to a thousand saints a year that we celebrate on our calendar. We celebrate a feast of a thousand Saints yearly, really? According to Google, there were 7.53 billion people in 2017. So, out of about 7 billion people in the world, there are only 1000 people are called saints that the Church celebrates yearly? How many saints are there then? In today’s first reading, taken from the book of Revelation, John told us a vision in heaven that there are one hundred and forty-four thousand marked from every tribe of the children of Israel. This means that there are twelve tribes of Israel. Each tribe has twelve thousands people. Together, it’s made up of one hundred and forty-four thousand people. Not only these people of Israel, but there is also a great multitude, Saint John said, “from every nation, race, people, and tongue.” All these people, symbolized the whole human race, “stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.” Therefore, there is not only one thousand saints in heaven, nor one-hundred and forty-four thousand saints in heaven, but there is a great multitude number of saints in heaven. The question then, what would make us saints in front of God in his heavenly kingdom? How would we become saints? Or what is the criteria for us to become saints?

Some years ago, a wealthy Frenchman by the name of Count Alfred de Pierre-Court left his entire fortune of two million dollars to pay for the growing of giants. The courts upheld the will to the extent of allowing one fourth of the estate, five-hundred thousand dollars, to be used for this experiment. The city officials of Rouen, France, were to search the world for men and women of large stature, pair them off in couples, and place them in homes near Rouen. The experiment was failed in a few years after. More than 2,000 years ago, the greatest person, who ever walked on this earth, left a legacy to produce, not physical giants, but spiritual giants; not people who were big in body, but people who were big in soul. We just read His will in today’s Gospel, the famous Sermon on the Mount which gives us the formula for making spiritual giants. We call this program the Eight Beatitudes, the eight ways to inherit the Kingdom of God. Saints, the Church celebrates today, are those who responded to God’s invitation by living out these Beatitudes. Their lives are not only about spreading the Word of God but to live a heroic life.

How would we spread the Word of God and live a heroic life so to be united with the saints in the heavenly kingdom? Reading the Bible so to spread the Word of God is awesome, but what if we don’t have time to read the Bible, how would we spread the Word of God? We still can spread the Word of God by practicing the great commandments that the Lord Jesus taught us: To love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Heroic life is a life of loving God and one another including loving our enemies. Let’s us ask the Lord to increase our Faith, Hope and Love so our aim in this earthly life is to live the Beatitudes the Lord Jesus left for us. When we recite the Holy Rosary, let us remember to pray for the increasing of Faith, Hope and Love. Decision is yours.

 

Weekday Homilies 2019

Homilies by Fr. Joseph Thang Nguyen


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