Today, we celebrate a special day in honor of all the saints, all those good people who help us and help so many other people in the world and are now in heaven with Jesus and Mary. We celebrate the official saints, canonized saints, also all the very good people who have helped us.
“Saint,” what does it mean? The first reading says that an angel will mark all the people who are saved. [To see the words of the first reading, click here.] The mark is like a tattoo on a person. A long time ago slaves had a tattoo to show they belonged to a master. We have a mark to show we belong to Christ; we are servants of Jesus. That mark is where? On our body? No. The mark is on our soul. Something special is put on our soul to show we are joined to Jesus always. It happens when? Baptism.
Baptism happened for most of us when we were babies. Did we say, “God, you have to pick me; put your special mark on my soul, you must?” No, we did not say it. We were babies; we could not say anything. God looked down and said. “You are my precious son, my precious daughter. You belong to me and I, God, belong to you always. My special mark I give you.” It makes us saints. You and I are saints now because we belong to God, belong to Christ. This is a gift from God to us. We cannot demand it. God looks down, sees you and me, the baby, and says, “I love you; I give you my special mark. You belong to me forever, always, always, always.” We say, “I accept Your gracious gift. I accept You choosing me.” All we can do is open our arms and receive God’s kindness.
Then we look at the second reading from St. John. [To see the words of the reading, click here.] It says you and I are children belonging to God. Can we say to God, “Okay, you must pick me to become your son, your daughter; you have to”? I can force God? I cannot. I simply say, “I do not understand why, but you want me to become your child? I accept. Thank you.”
Compare: You, mothers and fathers, do you say to your children, “You have to be very good. If you are very very good, then I accept you as my child. If not good, I reject you; I don’t want you”? Would you say that? No! Maybe you see your child doing something wrong and correct them, punish them maybe; but reject them? No. You, mother and father, will say to your children, “You are my son, my daughter; I love you no matter what happens. I love you.”
God the Father, Jesus the Lord are much better than you or any human mother and father. He can look down and sees I am bad; it means He will reject me? No. He is the best father, the best mother also. He accepts me no matter what happens. God, You love me no matter. Wow!
Okay, God, you love me; you are never going to take back your love so I can do anything I want now? No. You and I know He loves us. We want to do everything to make God happy with us, make Him proud He has picked us.
What should we do? How should we respond to God? Read the words of Jesus today, a big long list, a beautiful list. [To see the words of the gospel, click here.] Jesus gave us this list, called the Beatitudes. Be poor in spirit. It means what? It means I am generous and willing to give time, talent, money to help other people. I don’t need more stuff. Then Jesus says God blesses, makes happy those people who are gentle; it means our anger, set it aside. The “I” “me,” “ me,” “me first”; set that attitude aside. Gentle, humble in heart, it means, “I know I depend on You, Lord, to help me always. Then Jesus says, “God blesses those who mourn, are sad.” It means God is happy to see you depressed? No. It means you look at the world and see there are many bad things happening in the world, and you are sad to see how many people suffer, how much they are suffering. And you decide, I want to help. You can solve all the problems? No. But help a little you and I, we can. Sadness leads us to change, to become more active, helping a poor situation be better, helping improve a person’s life. Then mercy. Mercy means what? Being kind, patient, understanding, compassionate. You see another person, their troubles, their bad mood. Find a deep reason why their character, their attitude, their mood is so bad.
All of those things are easy? No. It will take a full lifetime to learn to do all those things.
That big long list, what is it? It describes Jesus, His attitude, His heart. To do peace, be gentle, humble, kind. That is Jesus’s attitude; we see it in Jesus’s actions. When others see we are trying to be good like Jesus, we are copying Jesus, that is wonderful. I hope they will see Jesus in you, in me. When we see Jesus, we see His Father’s heart. God the Father’s heart is the same as Jesus’s heart. Wow! When we see kindness, goodness, holiness in people, then people can see God’s grace, God’s light, God’s love touching people in our world today. Our world is tough with much darkness, unhappiness. You and I must help other people see that love is still active in our world.
Let me end with a story:
A mother went with her young son to church. One bright afternoon when the sun was strong, they went into church. It was very nice; they saw the beautiful windows and all the colors. The mother went around to the windows and explained to the boy, “That is a picture of St. John; that is a picture of St. Peter; that is a picture of St. Therese.” They went around to all the different windows in the church, and she explained the different saints to the boy. When they were finished, the mother asked the boy, “Saint, what does “saint” mean?” He answered, “A saint lets the light come in, lets the light come through the window.” That’s right. A saint lets God’s light come into our world. A saint lets God’s kindness, light, grace, become clear. A saint is a person who lets God’s love become clear in the darkness of our world.
The question is do you want to become light, God’s light, now in your corner, your part of the world? Do you want to become a saint?