Hollywood has the Oscars;
TV has the Emmy’s;
Different sports retire players uniform numbers or enter them into a Hall of Fame.
It is an incredibly human thing for us to appreciate “greatness” in peers. To stand in awe of their accomplishments, their contributions to the world.
For Catholics, on All Saints Day we remember the countless number of men and women, billions of people whose personal stories, names are unknown to us – whose greatness, whose accomplishments, whose contributions to the world weren’t for anything specific they did themselves, but what they did because of the Gospel. How they lived their lives for Jesus Christ. Out of love for Him, His Call, His Commission in all kinds of amazing ways:
– some were willing to be imprisoned, die gruesome deaths rather than allow their voices be silent, their lives not bear witness to the Gospel.
– others left the comfort of their homes, their livelihoods to set out to new lands to “preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth”
– we have stories of men and women throughout the centuries who built schools, colleges, universities so that people could learn the Good News and share it; they invented health-care -caring for those sick and dying when the rest of the world sadly and wrongly dismissed the sick as deserving of their illnesses because of their sin or the sins of their families.
-each and everyone of them called out to the world to recognize the unique dignity of every human being, every human life. Through their efforts they spoke out against (and helped end) slavery; they fought for civil rights; as they battled for the respect due to every human being, born and unborn…
We rightly admire people like the St. Francis’; St. Therese; St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta names that have universal recognition – but today, we pause to remember the countless hosts of beloved All Stars, who remain somewhat unknown to us, but are no less Hall of Famers, especially in God’s eyes, as they were vitally apart of bringing the Gospel to life to the world in amazingly numerous ways. They did all these things because they loved God and knew God loved them.
They also did them for each of us. That we might benefit from their service, and be inspired to fall deeper in love with Jesus Christ as they had and find the only response to that love is to work to become Saints ourselves. To continue to preach the Gospel whether it’s convenient or received kindly or not; To move out of our comfort zones and allow Him and His message to lead us rather than our own wants and desires; to continue to serve the poor, the imprisoned, the needy out of love for Him. To defend the dignity of the gift of life bestowed on us by God against all the numerous threats against it.
As we embrace these difficult, but do-able (if we want to do them) tasks, we cry out – All holy men and women – pray for us!