All Saints Day
Not to cheapen things or evacuate mystery,
but we could frame today’s celebration as that of our forever BFFs.
Let me start with a few thoughts from Lutheran pastor, Nadia Bolz-
Weber, about the holy company we are invited to keep:
It’s quite a thing, really. That we be connected to so many,
to so much faith, so many stories, so much divine love.
Especially in this day and age of alienation and trying to
find community and belonging in smaller and smaller
ways. I may think that the basis of me being connected to
other people is in having political beliefs or denominational
affiliation or neighborhood or musical taste or Facebook
groups in common. But none of this is what connects me
to the Body of Christ. What connects me to the Body of
Christ is not my piety or good works or even theological
beliefs. It’s God, a God who gathers up all of His children
into the Church eternal.
All Saints, all the Saints,
those whom we believe, as our first reading says, see the Father as
Now, some of you may be thinking: this seems really Catholic.
It could be argued that this is simply saintly, holy, so much divine
Mysterious bonds in which the Church has believed for centuries.
“I believe in the Communion of Saints.” Thank you, Apostles’ Creed,
an expression of faith, a theological statement, emerged in the fourth
(It can be found on pages 53, 66, 96, 120, 292, 304, and 496 of the
In that same fourth century, we find reference to a feast for “all the
by St. John Chrysostom, illuminating. eloquent figure for the Church,
Archbishop of Constantinople until his death in exile at age 58 in 407.
In the early 800s, that feast was established for all Christians, for
And here we are 1200 years later.
All Saints, all the saints: those who said “yes” so often and so deeply
that the community of Christians was convinced, in faith,
that they had been so transformed by so much divine love
that they would be instruments of it for the community after their
Not all Christians nowadays believe this, of course. It’s hard to
Yet, many dare to believe.
Not simply models of Christian living,
the saints actively journey with us, now, into eternity: forever BFFs,
showing us that grace indeed does not simply cover darkness,
showing us that God rejoices in making use of instruments to draw us
So much divine love…
This is what this gospel seems to be about for this feast day.
The beatitudes, the mysterious “happinesses” from God,
reveal the transformation in the hearts of believers, the hearts of the
our hearts while on our earthly pilgrimage,
the completeness of which we anticipate in hope.
The beatitudes are not a pep-talk for the downtrodden
nor a list of conditions for blessing.
They reveal Jesus reaching into the fragility of our lives to give
so much divine love
Blessed are you who feel small and overwhelmed, who are unsure
who can’t fall apart because others need you to be strong,
who still weep after all this time the death of your beloved,
who feel lonely or wrestle with anger,
who, young or old, just want to feel safe but do not,
who struggle to make eye contact with a world that only loves the
You are God’s children now, the apple of His eye, and He is leading
leading you with the saints to springs of the water of life
and will wipe away every tear from your eyes.
As Saint Paul, in Colossians 1:12, exhorts, let us give thanks to the
Father, who enables us to share in the inheritance of the saints
in the light.
We are not alone.
We are truly surrounded by a multitude, forever BFFs,
a few of whom are depicted in this church!
In celebrating with them, we celebrate the Holy One Who makes us
so much divine love.
Let us continue our celebration of Him, gathering at His altar, His
preparing for the unique gift of Eucharist, Communion.
so much divine love.