Solemnity of All Saints
School Mass at St. Andrew Academy
November 1, 2007
Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14
1 John 3:1-3
What did we celebrate last night? Halloween! I sat on my front stoop and gave out candy to a lot of ghouls and goblins and a few zombies to boot! Last night we had fun with the ghoulish, ghastly and ghostly. It was all just for fun and especially chocolate! I over estimated and now I have a lot of candy bars left over. Or did I do that on purpose?
Today we celebrate a very important day in the Church. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints. We celebrate the reality that those who die in God's grace are received into his Heavenly Kingdom to live forever and worship God. We celebrate the fact that for us to die does not mean the end. It means that we live forever in God's presence in Heaven. It also means that we join what the Apostle Paul called the "Great Cloud of Witnesses" in Heaven. When we die, we meet up again with all our family and friends who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith and we get to be together again. However, this time we get to be together in eternal life and be perfectly happy!
The vestments I am wearing this morning were made for my very first Mass after I was ordained seven years ago. This stole and chasuble were made by my best friend Liz. Liz died a few years ago and every time I wear this, I am reminded of how much she loves me and how much I love her. I don't say that in the past tense because Liz and I are still connected. This is what we celebrate today, that even though we may die physically, we do not die spiritually. When we we get to Heaven, we aren't cut off from one another. Those who go before us into Heaven become a source of strength for us and our loved ones pray for us continually and we continue to pray for them.
We often times think that when someone dies that we are finished with knowing them. That's not true. When we believe in Jesus and we die, we go to Heaven where we become a member of the "Great Cloud of Witnesses" who intercede on the behalf of those who are still alive on earth. When we go to Heaven, we have work to do. We celebrate in God's presence and we worship God in perfect praise and we also intercede for those who are still alive. I know for a fact that my friend Liz is praying for me! Liz is also probably shaking her head and laughing when I do something really silly. It makes me feel good and safe to know that she is on my side and praying for me to God. I need all the help I can get.
Today we celebrate the glory of God's gift of salvation and the share in God's Kingdom that each of us receive. There is nothing ghoulish or ghastly about All Saints Day. Today we celebrate all that is beautiful and holy, eternal and perfect. For those who believe in Jesus, life does not end, it changes when we die but it doesn't end.
Let us give thanks to God this morning as we celebrate with all the Saints in Heaven. They are a part of us and we are a part of them and death does not change that. Thank God and Amen!