“Today we celebrate this great feast of All Saints. It’s one of my favorite holy days because it’s a celebration of all the saints who live with God in the glory of eternal life. Certainly all of those canonized saints, some of whom were referred to in the Litany of the Saints that we sang before Mass today, but that litany is for those who are kind of heroic in their sanctity of life and certainly models and examples for all of us, but today’s feast is also for the ordinary saints, for those who have shared life with us, those who have journeyed along with us in life and have now gone to their eternal reward, those parents and grandparents, those spouses, those relatives and friends, those children who have gone before us into eternal life and so we honor them as truly saints as ones who share in the glory of God through their holiness given through Christ Jesus and it’s a reminder that all of us have that one vocation within our life and that vocation is to become a saint. That vocation is to reach eternal glory with God. That is the call that each and every one of us has by reason of our baptism. At our baptism we received that seal that is referred to in the first reading today from the book of Revelation. We were signed with the sign of the cross which is the sign of our salvation in Christ Jesus and we were made adopted sons and daughters of God, very sharers in the very life of God himself that we begin here, but we are called to live ever more fully unto eternal life and so our own vocation is that of holiness of yes, becoming a saint not in a pietistic sense, but just in a down to Earth holiness of life that is lived in the day in and the day out.
Today in the Church we begin this vocation awareness week, a time of prayer for vocations and a realization that all of us have those invitations to live that holiness in very special ways whether that is through single life or married life, family life, if it’s through religious life or priesthood that that is a vocation by which we live out that call to holiness and that we need to be attentive to God’s voice and working within us, calling us first of all to those vocations and that there’ll be that generosity of response not just initially, but day in and day out as we live those beautiful relationships not without their challenges because every vocation is a call to die and to rise with Christ Jesus. There’s dying to selfishness and rising to a greater love and caring and so we pray in a very special way today for vocations and that there may be that response to God’s invitation for us and for our young and for future generations to be attentive to God’s call, the call to holiness of live in one of the vocations in which we are invited and Jesus in the Gospel today really gives us the pattern of holiness for us. He gives us that, if you will, a blueprint of how we are called to become more God-like within our own lives each day. You know in the Old Testament there were the Ten Commandments which was the law of the Old Testament of the old covenant, but the new covenant in Christ Jesus’ commandments are really the Beatitudes, not so much commandments to invitations to a new attitude of life. The Beatitudes are attitudes of being that we are called to be merciful. We are called to be just. We are called to be compassionate. We are called to be peacemakers, peace loving, called to fidelity even when it involves persecution and most of all to recognize that we are poor in spirit that each of us needs God within our lives and so we are invited to live each day those Beatitudes as opposed to the Commandments which are kind of the ‘thou shalt not…’, the Beatitudes are continual invitation to greater life. We’ll never fulfill all the Beatitudes in this life, but they are there to challenge us to invite us to a change of heart, a change of attitude to continue to grow within that compassion and mercy, love and fidelity and to do so within those beautiful vocations to which the Lord has called us. What a great day this is for the saints as we honor them, but what a wonderful day it is for ourselves as well as we remember that each of us is called to sanctity of life that we are called to grow in holiness each day and eventually to become one of those saints who are honored on this day for that is our eternal call. That is the reward that Christ wants to give each and every one of us, that fullness of life with God forever and ever.”