Sunday, November 1st, 2020 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin
This weekend in this Feast of All Saints, we have the profound joy of celebrating our big brothers and sisters in Christ: the saints! Each year at Saint Joachim a few of our young people come to Mass dressed in costumes resembling their favorite saints. That is because this is an especially meaningful feast for us as Catholic Christians. This weekend at the 8:00 AM Spanish and the 10:00 AM English Masses, young people will continue this meaningful tradition.
At our Baptism, we all receive the call to holiness and discipleship — in other words, the call to sainthood. If we wish to go to Heaven, we must strive to become saints! Saint Therese of Lisieux once said, “You cannot be half a saint; you must be a whole saint or no saint at all.” Thankfully, in our Christian way of life, we can each discover our unique path to do just that.
In our Gospel passage from Matthew, Jesus presents His Beatitudes. In them, our Lord laid out the characteristics indicative of what it means to be His disciples, His saints-in-the-making. As we examine, tweak, and update our Christian commitment, we must always keep these Beatitudes in mind as a measure of our progress towards sainthood and holiness.
The “blessed” that our Lord spoke of are not the different types of good people who get to go to Heaven. Rather, the “blessed” are the characteristics of the disciples of Christ. These characteristics — poor in spirit, mourners, meek, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, merciful, clean of heart, peacemakers, persecuted for the sake of righteousness, and insulted — can only be obtained with an abundance of grace. But we are children of God, so we have access to the infinite treasury of God’s grace.
Armed with that grace of our baptism and commitment to Jesus Christ and his Church, we can have firm hope that one day we will join our big brothers and sisters in the never-ending joys and celebration of Heaven.