Posted on: 2015-11-04

The saints' annual general meeting

The first Day of November  is a very special Solemnity known as "All Saints Day" in the Church deriving from Catholic Tradition. It is a day for  remembering the saints of Christendom and reminding Christians of their "Day of Destiny". That destiny is that all are called to holiness and destined for reunion with God. All Saints day can be seen as the "Annual General Meeting" day for all God's children, the Saints Militant, those still living and passing through the world here, and the Saints Triumphant, those who have fought the good fight and gone ahead of us. We Christians living still, often called "saints" by Paul in his epistles, must not lose focus of our destiny as we travel along this temporary and transitory world even though this "other-worldly" commitment has in past centuries attracted criticisms from political liberalists. They allege that Christians, by implication, tend to take less interest in this world and subsequently  ignore their duties as  good citizens to the state and to society. Nothing at all can be more false and there is no real evidence to support that position. Jesus Christ, in truth, admonished his followers to be the light of the world and salt of the earth (Matt 5: 13-14) . He nonetheless insisted that Christian priorities must be correctly set: "Seek first the kingdom of God and everything else will be added unto you" Matt. 6:33) The Scripture reading of the solemnity of All Saints is  good material for meditation and for demonstrating the attraction of that other world to Christians who hope to reach the Kingdom of the Father. Jesus Christ affirmed that  "Where I am, my servant shall be also". All Saints Day reminds us all living that all the way to heaven should be for us, heaven as well.

Washed in the blood of the Lamb

The book of Revelations describes John's reaction to the parade of the Saints in heaven. "One of the elders then spoke, and asked me, 'Do you know who these people are, dressed in white robes, and where they have come from?' I answered him,  'You can tell me, my lord.' Then he said, 'These are the people who have been through the great persecution, and they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb'" (Rev. 7:13-14:). The full story of that parade must make us ponder how the Lamb of God came to shed his blood (Phil 2: 6ff). It must make us inquire how possible it is for anyone to wash a robe white in the blood of the lamb. Embedded here is the function of the endurance, suffering and sacrifice made by those admitted into heaven. The Book of Wisdom gives explicit insight into this: "The souls of the just are in the hands of the Lord, no torment shall ever touch them. In the eyes of the unwise they did appear to die, their passing like annihilation. But they are at peace". Death is obviously a central element of All saints Day. To become a saint one must first die. Those who die and become saints are those who have passed through great tribulations and trials. These are very unpopular concepts in today's society. Little wonder that today's culture of liberalism also attempts to  strip society of the desire and demands of holiness. Yet the longing remains in every human being, to one day reach a place of eternal rest and bliss which is attainable only by "washing one's robe white in the blood of the lamb"

Do not be afraid to be holy

The Church must keep Christians focused and committed to the task of holiness because God demands it of His children. "Be holy for I the Lord your God am holy". (Lev 19:2). Jesus Christ also emphasized it: "Also for your part you shall be righteous and perfect in the way your heavenly Father is righteous and perfect" (Matthew 5:48). The rest of the Scriptures as well abundantly echoes the call to holiness. "He chose us in Himself before the creation of the world to be holy and without sin in his presence" (Ephesians 1:3-4, 1Pet. 1:14-16). The task of holiness is simply indispensable to our salvation because God has no consideration for modern theories of sinful conspiracy termed "solidarity" or moral relativism renamed "tolerance".  That is why Saint John Paul II encouraged all, especially young people not to be afraid to be holy. The Bible strengthens that approach so that all who struggle to be holy receive succor and never despair. "However, all have sinned and all fall short of the Glory of God; and all are graciously forgiven and made righteous through the redemption effected in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:23-24). "The Lord is gracious and merciful; abounding in love and slow to anger" (Psalms 103:8). Many teachers of faith agree that the difference between the saints and the sinners is in never giving up: "even though the Saint falls seven times, he gets up again, But the sinner sinks in their adversity" (Proverbs 24:16).


Join the winning team

Therefore All Saints Day reassures Christians that they belong to a winning team. The Bible testifies: "Keep faithful and I shall give you the crown of life for your prize (Rev 2:10). Of the just it says: "God has put them to the test and proved them worthy to be with him; he has tested them like gold in a furnace and accepted them as a holocaust. When the time comes for his visitation they will shine out.... They shall judge nations, rule over peoples, and the Lord will be their king forever" (Wis. 3:5-9, Rev 7:15-17). So saints, do not weaken, hold up your heads for your salvation is sure.