All Saints (C); November 1, 2013
Rv 72-4,9-14 Ps 24 1 Jn 3:1-3 Mt 5:-1-12a
Deacon Jim McFadden; St. Francis High School
Riffing off of Sister Sledge, We Are Family—the community of St. Francis High School. But, as we gather in worship, we know that we are part of a greater family: the community of All Saints!
ALL Saints: Troubies, do you get that? There can only be a communion of Saints in “heaven” if there is one here and now on earth. And, what I want to know, ARE WE A COMMUNION OF SAINTS @ St. Francis High School! I hope so because if we’re not, we’re nothing more than a noisy gong. Our goal in life, the very reason we were created in the first place, is to be friends with God—to share in his love now and forever! St. Augustine so wisely intoned 1,700 years ago, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in him.”
At a very deep level, we are family! As Lucian of Antioch (240-312) an early Christian theologian and martyr, once said that “a Christian’s only relatives are saints.” Those who follow Jesus Christ and who seek to do the Father’s will enter into a new family, a family of saints here on earth and in heaven. Jesus changes the order of relationships and how we look upon family because he teaches us that kinship is more than flesh and blood. Our adaption as God’s beloved daughters and sons, transforms all of our relationships; I look at the vast sea of red jerseys and I see my sisters in faith! Such an awareness requires a new order of loyalty—we have duties and responsibilities to God and his Kingdom.
DO YOU HUNGER TO BE GOD’S FRIEND? DO YOU WANT TO BE A SAINT? Do you? Then the question is HOW?
The answer to this question, is JESUS. Our faith is not primarily about doctrines, rules, rituals, devotions. While all of those are very important, they are secondary to the fact that our Faith is about a person: Jesus! And, when we say along with Peter that “Jesus is the Son of the living God,” everything changes because the Way to becoming a Saint, the Way to attain our destiny, the Way to be fully in communion with God and in fellowship with each other is through Jesus, Who is God among us! Given that, how can we come to know Jesus?
First, to become friends with Jesus means being close to him, which means we abide in our Lord’s presence and let ourselves be lead by him. I ask you: how do you abide in the presence of Jesus? When you go into the chapel or the quiet of your room, what do you do? You probably speak, offer petitions, give thanks—those are good prayers. But, do you let yourselves be gazed upon by the Lord? When you enter his presence, let him look at you and, as you do, you will know that he gazes upon you with love. This will warm your heart, which will ignite the fire of friendship with Jesus, making you feel that he sees your True Self, that he is close to you, and that he loves you.
Second, to become friends with Jesus means to know Him through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. In your four years at St. Francis H.S., you have the tremendous opportunity of immersing yourself in the Word of God and Tradition, in which Jesus speaks to us directly. Know your Bible—become Scripturally literate and know your Catechism.
Both the Bible and the Catechism teach us many things about Jesus, and we should study and learn from them because the deposit of faith is transformative because it’s grounded in the Word of God made flesh.
Lastly, there is a third way to become friends with Jesus: imitate him by leaving yourself behind and going out to encounter others, especially those on the margins. As you know from Christian Service, this is a beautiful experience. Because when we put Christ in the center of our life, we ourselves don’t become the center! The more you unite yourself with Jesus, the more he will lead you out of yourself, which leads you to serve others, especially those who are in most need. God’s dynamism is self-gifting—God is love who gives himself away. And, when we do that we become Saints as we remain united in Christ.
Therefore, to become a Saint means to know Jesus. We do so, by speaking to him in prayer, letting him gaze upon us. It means to know what Scripture and the Church tells us about him. It means to walk along his path of self-giving. This is the road to Sainthood. Everyone in this assembly has a decision to make. DO WE WANT TO BECOME SAINTS? DO WE WANT TO BECOME FRIENDS WITH JESUS? If so,