Feast of All Saints
Solemnity - 1st November (Holy day of obligation)
Most European countries celebrate with a bank holiday.
3 2us by Mgr Leo Maasburg
"The Church celebrates all saints - all the saints of all the centuries.. all those who have gone to heaven through the grace of God. Sanctity, Mother Teresa once said, is not the privilege of the few, sanctity is the simple duty for you and me, we have all been created for that. That is her view and she echoes very well what the Second Vatican Council tells us: the common call to sanctity. .. Of course none of us can live the virtues but we all can open up to the guidance, to the strengthening, to the counselling of the Holy Spirit. We all can open up to start on a way of sanctity, because sanctity is not the point which we have reached and from them on we can see halos on our heads or are lifted 1 yard up above the others, but sanctity is the path and it is the narrow path into the kingdom of God. It is a path which Jesus says is comparable to the eye of a needle - it cannot be found by ourselves. It is very difficult for ourselves to enter the kingdom of heaven but what for us is impossible, for God is possible. So sanctity has a lot to do with us being linked closely to God. And how do we get linked to God? By the means by which the Holy Spirit guides us and the Church teaches us; it is very simple. It is by getting into silence first, into the silence of our hearts. God speaks in the silence of our hearts .. The first step for getting in touch with God would be to kneel down or sit in a Church and say 'Lord, what do you want me to do?' and He will clearly answer 'I want you to be a saint' .. Our vocation is to walk, to walk a path of holiness under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in His Church."
Evangelium with Fr Marcus Holden
"Today we celebrate our fellow human beings who have made it .. those who've reached the goal of goals, the only one worth reaching - heaven. We're talking about the entire population of heaven .. What are saints but human beings who have realised that they are not just beasts of burden, pleasure seeking machines, alone in the universe as accidents of creation or merely subjects of a distant creator or cause, but rather that they are children of God, given an eternal destiny. They have realised what John the Divine realised, as he wrote in the 2nd reading today. They have realised that Love that created them, that saved them and which brings them home .. Saints produce other saints; sanctity, holiness, is attractive, it's contagious, because we see how we're supposed to be ..This is the Gospel, the Evangelium today - Dare to become a saint!"
Pope Francis's Homily on the Feast of All Saints
Verano Cemetery, Rome - Sunday 1 November 2015 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish
"In the Gospel we listened to Jesus who was teaching his disciples and the crowd that had gathered on the mountain near the lake of Galilee (cf Mt 5, 1-12). The Word of the risen and living Lord also shows us, today, the way to reach the true beatitude, the way that leads to Heaven. It is difficult to understand the path because it goes against the current, but the Lord tells us that the one who takes this road is happy, sooner or later he becomes happy.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." We might ask ourselves how a person poor of heart can be happy, one whose only treasure is the Kingdom of Heaven. The reason is exactly this: that having the heart stripped and free of so many worldly things, this person is “awaited” in the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” How can those who weep be happy? Yet, those who in life have never felt sadness, angst, sorrow, will never know the power of comfort. Instead, happy are those with the capacity to be moved, the capacity to feel in their heart the sorrow that exists in their life and in the lives of others. They will be happy! Because the tender hand of God the Father will comfort them and will caress them.
“Blessed are the meek.” How often are we, on the contrary, impatient, irritable, always ready to complain! We have many demands regarding others, but when our turn comes, we react by raising our voice, as if we were masters of the world, when in reality we are all children of God. Let us think instead of those mothers and fathers who are so patient with their children who “drive them mad”. This is the way of the Lord: the way of meekness and of patience. Jesus traveled this path: as a child he endured persecution and exile; and then, as an adult, slander, snares, false accusations in court; and he endured it all with meekness. Out of love for us he endured even the cross.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Yes, those who have a strong sense of justice, and not only toward others, but first of all toward themselves, they will be satisfied, because they are ready to receive the greatest justice, that which only God can give.
Then, “blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Happy are those who know how to forgive, who have mercy on others, who do not judge every thing and every one, but try to put themselves in the place of others. Forgiveness is the thing we all need, without exception. This is why at the beginning of the Mass we recognize ourselves for what we are, namely, sinners. It isn’t an expression or a formality: it is an act of truth. “Lord, here I am, have mercy on me.” If we are able to give others the forgiveness we ask for ourselves, we are blessed. As we say in the Our Father: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Let us look at the faces of those who go around sowing discord: are they happy? Those who are always seeking occasions to mislead, to take advantage of others, are they happy? No, they cannot be happy. Instead, those who each day, with patience, seek to sow peace are the artisans of peace, of reconciliation, yes, they are blessed, because they are true children of our Heavenly Father, who always and only sows peace, to the point that he sent his Son into the world as the seed of peace for humanity.
Dear brothers and sisters, this is the way of holiness, and it is the very way of happiness. It is the way that Jesus travelled. Indeed, He himself is the Way: those who walk with Him and proceed through Him enter into life, into eternal life. Let us ask the Lord for the grace to be simple and humble people, the grace to be able to weep, the grace to be meek, the grace to work for justice and peace, and above all the grace to let ourselves be forgiven by God so as to become instruments of his mercy.
This is what the Saints did, those who have preceded us to our heavenly home. They accompany us on our earthly pilgrimage, they encourage us to go forward. May their intercession help us to walk on Jesus’ path, and to obtain eternal happiness for our deceased brothers and sisters, for whom we offer this Mass."