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All Saints Day

November 1, 2020

Matthew 5: 1-12A

By Rev. John Tran

After a long illness a woman died and arrived at the Gates of Heaven. While she was waiting for St. Peter to greet her, she peeked through the Gates. She saw inside a beautiful banquet table. Sitting around it were her parents and all the other people whom she had loved and who died before her. When St. Peter came by, the woman said to him, “This is such a wonderful place! How do I get in?” “You will have to spell a word,” St. Peter told her. “Which word?” the woman asked. “LOVE,” St. Peter said. The woman correctly spelled the word “LOVE” and St. Peter welcomed her into heaven.

About six month later St. Peter came to the woman and asked her to watch the Gates of Heaven for him that day. Now, while the woman was guarding the Gates of Heaven, her husband arrived there. “I'm surprised to see you here,” the woman said, “How have you been?” “Oh! I have been doing pretty well since you died,” her husband told her. “I married the beautiful nurse who took care of you while you were ill. And then I won a lottery. I sold the little house you and I lived in, and bought a big mansion. And my wife and I traveled all around the world. We were on vacation and went water skiing today. I fell, the ski hit my head and here I am.” Then he asked her, “How do I get in?” “You will have to spell a word,” the woman told him. “Which word?” her husband asked. She replied, “CZECHOSLOVAKIA.”

Today is the 1st November and on this day we solemnly celebrate the great feast of All Saints. It is important to emphasize from the beginning what we mean here by ‘saints.' Normally, we apply the word to people of extraordinary holiness who have been 'canonized' or 'beatified' by the Church. Among them each one has their favorites: St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Anthony, St. Joseph, St. Benedict and so on. But today’s feast uses the word in a much wider sense. It refers to all those baptized Christians who have died and are now in heaven with God in glory. It also certainly includes all non-Christians who lived a good life sincerely in accordance with the convictions of their conscience. “Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.” How do ordinary people become Saints? 

We can take the short cuts practiced by three Teresa's: i) St. Teresa of Avila: Recharge your spiritual batteries every day by prayer, namely, listening to God and talking to Him ii) St. Therese of Lisieux: Convert every action into prayer by offering it to God for His glory and for the salvation of souls and by doing God’s will to the best of one’s ability. iii) St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa): Do ordinary things with great love. 

Today’s feast is first of all an occasion for great rejoicing and thanksgiving. It is altogether reasonable to think that many of our family, relatives and friends who have gone before us are being celebrated today. We look forward to the day when we, too, can be with them experiencing the same total joy, happiness and peace.

Today is also a day for us to pray to them – both the canonized and the not-canonized – and ask them to pray on our behalf that we may live our lives in faithfulness so that we too may experience the same reward. “LORD, THIS IS THE PEOPLE THAT LONGS TO SEE YOUR FACE!” And this is the Good News of today.

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