November 1, 2012…the Solemnity of All Saints’. One of the things that gives me a lot of joy is when I am able to stop in and visit the children in our Faith Formation program on Saturday and Sunday mornings. This past Saturday, my schedule permitted me to drop in and see what was going on in the classrooms. Per usual, the children were, for the most part, pleased to see me. As I listened to what the catechists were teaching it was quickly apparent that the theme of SAINTS was the lesson du jour. I as fascinated that more modern day saints were being discussed and so, I asked my question: can someone tell me what exactly a saint is?! Names were quickly uttered. Mother Theresa of Calcutta; Saint Kateri Tekakwitha; Saint John the Baptist and so on and so forth. And so, I asked again, but WHAT IS A SAINT? No one seemed to be able to answer that question. Today at Mass this was again the question that was asked. A saint is someone just like you and me. A disciple who sought to follow the Christ. Saints do this well. By virtue of our baptism, each of us has been called to follow Jesus when it is convenient and when it is not convenient. The Beatitudes, the Gospel that we hear proclaimed on the Solemnity of All Saints’ reminds us that when we endure all sorts of trials in the name of the Savior, we are blessed. Blessed are they who mourn; blessed are they who suffer; blessed are the who are persecuted. Of course, in recent months, for those of us who live in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, mourning and suffering seem to have no value; no place. If Ballot Question 2 is passed this coming election day, citizens of this State will be able to chose when they end their own life. It is called Physician Assisted Suicide but there is no physician who assists other than writing a script whereby one can pop 100 pills and bring it all to an end. In my years as a priest, suffering and sadness, even though they present challenges, also present something good: suffering unites a family once estranged; sadness allows love to grow and love to foster among those who were once at odds with one another. If Jesus would have sanctioned suicide, the Sermon on the Mount would have sounded rather differently. But Jesus wanted his disciples to know that he walks with us; he suffers with us and he mourns with us. Some of those reading these words might not agree with what I have written but if we value life from the very moment of conception until natural death, just like the saints whose memory we honor today, then we are on the right track to becoming saints ourselves, despite our imperfections. Make a difference on Tuesday and don’t forget to get out and vote!
Happy All Saints’ Day!