Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Saints are our All-Stars (homily)

Why do we celebrate this day?
Why have an “All Saints” Day?

Who here is a baseball fan?
Right in the middle of the season, in July,
there’s a special event—do you know what it’s called?
It even sounds something like today’s Feast Day:
The “All Star” Game.

I grew up in Cincinnati,
and we had “the Big Red Machine.”

If you’ve heard of these folks, raise your hands:
At first base: Tony Perez
Second base: Joe Morgan
Shortstop: Davey Concepcion
Third base: Pete Rose
Outfield: Cesar Geronimo, George Foster,
and Ken Griffey—not Junior, his father!
At home plate, Johnny Bench;
and the manager: Sparky Anderson.

In the All Star Game in 1976,
eight of those ten fellows were in that game!
If you were a Cincinnati baseball fan then,
it was a glorious time!

All of us wanted to have their baseball cards;
we wanted to wear a jersey with their number on it.
All the kids looked up to Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan.

But here’s the thing.
Time passes, and such glory is fleeting.

One of the biggest names from then is Pete Rose.
He was one of the greatest baseball players ever.
He set a ton of records.
But while many of those other players’ names
Are in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Pete Rose’s isn’t.

Because while Pete Rose was a great baseball player,
It turned out he broke the rules.
He ruined his reputation.
And he broke a lot of people’s hearts.

It’s good to have heroes—we need them.
We need others to look up to, to admire;
We need them to set an example for us, to inspire us.

But as I said, the glory of this world doesn’t last.
The All Stars of 30 years ago have faded.

Today, we celebrate the Church’s All Stars.

But their glory does not fade;
they will not break our hearts.

The saints are our heroes,
Not because they played a game so well,
Or they were the best spellers,
Or they made a lot of money,
Or they were great artists or priests or parents—
Although they were.

They are our All Stars, our heroes,
Because—as the first reading describes—
They stand with Jesus!
They longed to see his face;
They chose Jesus as their hero,
and tried to be like Him—and it happened!

When we think of the saints, we are filled with hope.
Where they are, we hope to be.
The race we’re running, the struggle we face,
They’ve faced and overcome.
Now, from heaven, they cheer us on to victory!

We see them at the finish line,
saying, ‘come on!’ ‘You can do it!’

And we race and we strain for the prize!

As we race toward heaven—to join the saints—
Along the way, there will be times
others will get in our way, try to stop us,
or laugh at us for all the hard work we’re doing.
That’s what Lord was talking about in the Gospel:
He said: you will need to be meek and humble;
You will need to be clean of heart;
You will need to be a peacemaker,
If you want to run the race, and win.

Some will stand on the sidelines and make fun;
But keep running! Heaven lies ahead.
There the Saints, the true All Stars, are waiting.
They are with Jesus, which is where we want to be.


Anonymous said...

Father Fox, your homily is truly inspiring! I often feel sick that the heroes held up for young people to model themselves after today are so often unworthy - from rappers to models to athletes to "celebrities" to fleeting tv personalities - while many are good people at heart, all that most of these folks offer is material success or the skills which brought them into the limelight. Too often they also bring along highly negative baggage with their worldly success. People like this are the type many admire today and desparately want to emulate. Why not pattern ourselves after heroes with real merit in their lifestyles, and those with the highest achievement - holiness. This would include not only canonised saints but others who live or have lived lives based on Christ's message of love and compassion, not the lure of fame and fortune.

I hope many will hear your message and take it under advisement. Thanks a bunch!


JRH said...

Great words of inspiration. Thank you for sharing... I wish I could have heard you deliver this homily because I know you had a great deal of passion behind your words :)