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All Saints Day


Happy All Saints Day!!!


This is a day of Christian hope!!!


That is one of the hallmarks of being a Christian—



Whatever difficult situation we’re in—

we can have several attitudes in facing that situation. . . .


We can ignore it—

choosing not to face it. . . .


Or, we can mark it up to fate. . . .

this situation is something I just have to endure. . . .




we can approach a situation with hope.


That’s the Christian answer. . . .

because of our faith in God,

we can approach any situation with hope. . .


because of our faith,

we know that in the end—

God wins—

God brings good out of bad—

God defeats evil.


The reading from the Book of Revelation

that we just heard

reinforces that Christianity

is a religion of hope.


In John the Revelator’s vision,

he says that the servants of God will be sealed—

a seal that shows who they belong to—

they belong to God.


And how many will be sealed?


How many are in that number?

Well, 12 is a number that in Biblical language

symbolizes fullness.


So, 144,000 will be sealed—

12,000 times 12—

meaning a number

much larger than anyone can count.


Hope. . . .

Hope. . . .


God wins in the end. . .

Good over evil. . .

Good over bad.


And God is so great,

Even during the bad,

God can bring great good from it.


Some great spiritual goods have certainly

come to me through this pandemic. . .


Greater trust in God. . .

More intimate prayer. . .

Much more humility. . .

Change in priorities. . .

Greater sense of trying to serve others.


And part of that hope,

Bringing good from bad,

that I have comes from thinking about. . .


and praying with the saints.


They are our icons of Hope.


Christianity is a religion of hope.


I’ve mentioned this particular way to pray before. . . .

But I want to mention it again . . .

I think it is especially relevant today during the pandemic.


It’s from St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises—

It’s called “Contemplation of the Love of God.”


It’s full of hope.


Especially, for me, the very first part of the prayer.


Let me read it to you. . . .


This is St. Ignatius of Loyola.


I take the usual amount of time to

place myself reverently in

the presence of my Lord and my God,

and beg that God will direct everything in

my day more and more to his praise and service.


At this time, I may find it especially

helpful to imagine myself standing before

God and his saints who are

praying for me.


Not only are the saints there as icons of hope. . .

They are interceding for us.


At this time,

Ignatius says,

I may find it especially

helpful to imagine myself standing before

God and his saints who are

praying for me.


So, I love to imagine myself standing before God:

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit


And when I do I can just feel the

love they have for me—

and I tell them how much I love them.


And then, I also imagine myself

Standing before all the saints—

Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of them

as John the Revelator tells us


And I imagine all of them looking at—

Loving me—

and praying for me.


Then I pick out in that crowd of saints—

my favorites—

my favorite saints.


First, there’s the Blessed Mother.


She’s usually down in front—

Standing with her son.


And I look at her—

and she looks back at me—

Oh, what a look of love.


And I ask her to help our parish and

our Newman Center—

I ask her to help you—

And I ask her to help me.


I ask her to help us during this difficult time—

to help us during the pandemic.


That look of hers is the most comforting of looks. . .


And then I look into the crowd of saints

and I see St. Therese of Lisieux—

Who knew Jesus so, so well—

and loved Him so, so much.


She said she didn’t need a spiritual director—

it was Jesus who whispered to

her what she was supposed to do—

it’s Jesus that taught her how to love.


She knew Jesus so well.


One thing I love about Therese

was her attitude about how she would spend her time in heaven.


Therese says that for her,

heaven would not be a place of rest. . .


At least not before the Lord returns. . .

as long as there is a human need

she said she would be in heaven

interceding for us.



Our favorite saints are interceding for us.


And in this prayer, I see all my other favorites:

There’s Catherin of Siena,


And Teresa of Avila,


And Mother Teresa,


And John of the Cross,


And Maximillian Kobe,


And the repentant thief on the cross,

“Lord remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”


And St. Paul,


And St. Mary Magdalene,


They’re everywhere.


All Icons of hope.


And these days especially,

I see St. Roch.


He’s the patron saint of plagues.


He lived during the Black Death

in the 14th century.


He was said to have cured plague victims

he visited in Italy with his prayers and

by marking the sick with the sign of the cross.


In the U.S.,

there are several parishes named after him.


One, in Oxford, Massachusetts,

includes a prayer to the saint on its website

asking the saint for

“healing during this current health crisis”

and urging him to

“intercede for the whole world.”


He’s an icon of hope.


And these days in this prayer,

I especially pick out St. Aloysius Gonzaga.


He’s another saint known for his

care for plague victims,

during a later plague in Rome in 1591.


He cared for plague victims in a Roman hospital

while he was studying to be a Jesuit priest.


He not only visited the sick but

he carried them to the hospital,

washed their wounds and fed them.


He ended up contracting the plague

and died from it at age 23 and went to heaven.


What an intercessor for us. . .


Another icon of hope,

especially during the pandemic.


I see them all—

I see my favorites.


And as I place myself before God—

before Father and Son and Holy Spirit—

and in front of the Blessed Mother

in front of all the Saints—

and hear all the prayers for us—

I realize how the system—

God’s system—

is all rigged in our favor.


And I realize how much you and I are loved!!


Christianity is a religion of hope.


To end the homily—

let’s spend just a couple of minutes in silence. . . .


Praying this prayer of “Contemplating the Love of God”. . .

a prayer of hope.


At this time, I may find it especially

helpful to imagine myself standing before

God and his saints who are

praying for me.


Holy Spirit 2020 (Sunday)