Homily Solemnity of All Saints. F. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Rev 7:2-4, 9-11; Psalm 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab-6; 1 John 3:1-3 and Matt 5:1-12a
The Search for Joy and Happiness
Sanctity is within our reach! Joy and happiness also seem to be the goal of most people. But where we look for this happiness and search for this joy varies from people to people, culture to culture, religion to religion. Even those who are addicted to alcohol or some other bad habits have at the back of their minds that these are the sources of happiness.
The feast we celebrate today, All saints is not just the feast of all Christians, but the feast which reminds us of the source of everlasting happiness, namely sanctity of life and imitation of Christ, which is within the reach of every Christian, who pray and support one another, physically, materially and spiritually.
No doubt there are countless of our forefathers, and mothers, brothers and sisters all over the world who have lived on this planet morally and charitably. They fought for our independence, and defended our faith traditions. They trusted in God, worked for the common good and today are in heaven. They were not even known or documented by us, or by modern historians, except God.
The first reading from the Book of Revelation paints the picture of these people, the cloths they wear, and the joy they share. From every nation, (continents), race, culture, and language they stood before God’s throne, right in front God, before his face, wearing white and beautiful garments that radiate joy. Joy in God’s presence that we long for, but comes with price of distress, hard work, sacrifices and love. This love is well coated in the eight matthean beatitudes, Jesus’ Sermon on the mountain today (Matt 5:1-12).
In order to join these saints, to see God face to face, each of us must strive to humbly trust God who is manifested in Christ Jesus and in the teachings of his Church. We must be poor in sprit. We must endeavor to mourn and sympathize with those who mourn or are in distress or experiencing hard times. A good example will be the poor, an those sufferings from recent tragedies like the “Sandy” hurricane in the East coast of the United States or the displaced in war torn areas in the middle east.
Meekness and kindness to our neighbors are also required. We also want add justice to that list especially in a world that justice continues to be elusive. As Christ who showed mercy to many, including Zaccheus, Bartimaeus, the woman caught in adultery, and the royal official, being merciful to one another brings us closer to God’s face.
Beside being merciful, upright of heart, purity of heart, consistency and objectivity count, as well as peace, righteousness, which cannot be disassociated from justice. Like the saints described in that first reading, who washed their robes in the blood of the lamb, with great distress, keeping the beatitudes, peace, love, justice, mercy, kindness, purity of heart all comes with persecution and all types of oppositions.
Let us keep this at the back of our minds as we constantly search each day for the face of God, joy and eternal happiness with the saints, in our prayers, in our relationship with our neighbors, and in our good works. Sanctity is within the reach of everyone!