Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Omnium Sanctorum (homily)

St. Thomas Aquinas said somewhere
that so expansive, so complex,
is the goodness of God,
that only through the infinite variety
of his creatures
do all the various aspects of his goodness
become known to us.

And we see that in the saints.

For an example, consider our beautiful windows.

Different colors, different shapes,
the work of human artistry.
But what is their purpose?
To have light pass through them, of course:
Without light, our windows have no purpose.

So with the saints, and with us:
Our lives, made up of our individual gifts
and all that’s special about us,
have no purpose unless light—
the Light of Christ!—
shines through us!

For us in this church,
The Light streams in through these windows—
Even on a cloudy day!—
And reminds us of heaven, our true goal.

From the outside,
if we’re gathered here,
Light also streams out:
a sign of faith and hope to others,
beckoning them to join our fellowship.
This is the vocation
of the saints and our vocation:
To be like these stained-glass windows.
Beautiful; not all the same;
But each in its own way shining
with the light of Christ.

Recall the first reading:

“After this I had a vision
of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before
the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes
and holding palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice:

’Salvation comes from our God,
who is seated on the throne,
and from the Lamb.’"

That’s us!

Now, in a moment, we will do this,
Right here, at this Mass!

The whole second part of Mass
is all about adoring Jesus,
the Lamb of God, with the angels and the saints!

And right before communion,
I’ll lift up the Body and Blood,
and I’ll say:
“Behold the Lamb of God,
who takes away the sins of the world;
happy are those who are called to his supper.”
At that moment, we here on earth,
in this parish,
Will truly be joined
with the saints and angels in glory,
Praising God for the salvation
that comes from the Lamb.

St. Bernard said,
“Calling the saints to mind…
arouses in us, above all else,
a longing to enjoy their company.”

That’s true—but already we are in their company—
And we long to be all the way there.

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