Homily for the Feast of All Saints, 2015
I hope you all survived your Halloween parties this week.
Anyone dress up? No? You normally look like this?
I’m not a dressing up sort of person – well, except on Sundays, obviously…
Anyway, last night, Halloween: All-Hallow’s-eve. The eve of the Holy Ones.
Well, it’s no longer the eve,
it’s the day
of the Hallows,
The day of every Saint. Let it shine on the shadows and the fears that haunt you.
In the old European folk tradition, all ghosts and ghouls had one last party just before All Saints’ Day. But that party had to be over well before first light. Why? Because evil dare not step foot on the day of the Holy Ones, the Saints. Evil flees in terror before them.
The tradition of people dressing up as ghosts and witches was a way of acknowledging fears of the unknown and the dark, and then laughing at them. Yes, sometimes fear needs to be mocked. It’s hell’s greatest weapon. With Christ and the army of saints and angels, we can do that.
Us humans, we’re only little. Fears, terrors, illnesses, failures, deaths taunt us every day. But here’s the thing: all of that evil can dance around as much as it likes, but sooner or later it’s going to run straight into the power, the raging furnace, of God’s Love and it will be burnt up and shown up for the nothing that it is.
Followers of Jesus believe this. The Saints let that belief capture their hearts and fill them with its power.
All followers of Jesus are saints; those whom we call Saints are people who’ve simply become who they are. I am a Christian, and I will become a Christian. I am saint and, in God’s power, I will become a Saint, I will become who I am.
So many people become what society, or other people, expect them to be; you become a Saint by becoming the person that God wants you to be.
Become you, by loving the saint in you: that sacred, holy, irreplaceable person touched by Jesus that you are, and are meant to be. That is in you, that is your true Christ-self, it can never be lost or taken away, and it terrifies the demons. So let it grow. Feed your inner saint with daily prayers, the Eucharist and deeds of mercy.
And, if you want to become a Saint, become friends with a Saint. Ask them to walk with you, to pray for you. You ask me to pray for you, ask them as well. Every morning, I say, ‘Mary, my mother, S. David, S. Timothy, help me through this day, wind your prayers around me’.
The Saints of this parish are more than our friends. They are our family. Jesus makes it so. Did you really think death can separate us?
‘The Saints do not know sin, they only know mercy, and see it as their mission to bring that mercy to all’ Thomas Merton
When people think about haunting, they usually mean places spooked by bad spirits. But the Church believes the world is also haunted by a much greater power of goodness. There are places haunted by God’s Saints and Angels. People have told me that they love being alone in Church, even if it’s just to clean and tidy, because there’s a presence, an atmosphere of peace, a sense of being in a sanctuary, a safe and holy and good place. Absolutely: it’s one of the many places haunted by the Holy Spirit, and His friends.
Every time you feel that the world is cursing and oppressing you, feel the presence of Jesus and the Saints alongside you. There are forces of compassion – Saints, Angels, guardian angels, visible and invisible, straining at the leash, waiting for your invitation. Invite them to be with you. Ask for their prayers, ask them to help you love your inner saint because you are a holy one, a sacred one, touched by God.
Become what you are, and the demons will fall before you.