Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Like a Pumpkin - an All Saints Day homily


How does God see us? As scripture relates to us, we are His children. Let us not be mistaken about that we are indeed His children. One way of looking at this is with Halloween being this past Monday and Thanksgiving on the horizon is that in God's eye we are all pumpkins! Yes, in God's eyes we are all pumpkins. Okay so, before you think that I have had one too many pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks, just run with me on this for second.

If you think about it no two pumpkins are alike, they are all unique in their own way. Just like no two human beings are the same. Further, pumpkins are orange and nothing rhymes with orange, pointing to another aspect of uniqueness, and a sense of being set aside from the rest of creation just as humanity is. So, we like the pumpkin are created by God and like a pumpkin that is hollowed out, all the seeds and pulp are taken out, carved, and a candle place inside so too are we in Baptism. In baptism the Lord clears away the gunk of original sin and imprints the image of the cross upon us and places a light and the call to sainthood within us. It is then our job to make sure the light is kept burning brightly and to display the image placed upon us to the best of our ability just like a light displays the image carved on a jack-o-lantern.

How can we keep the light within us burning brightly? Well certainly through prayer, spending time in Eucharistic Adoration, Scripture, putting our faith into action by helping others are all ways we can maintain the light. On this day, as we remember the saints, we also remember it is by way of following the teachings and examples of the saints that we can help fuel the fire within and allow the image placed upon in Baptism to shine brightly.

At St. Charles we have the images of the saints on the ceiling, not to drum up business for any chiropractors that may be in the parish but to remind us where the saints are because of their faithfulness and that they are indeed there to guide us, inspire, and pray for us.

For example, take St. Terese of Liseux who, although she passed away in her early 20's, taught us to do our everyday activities no matter how great or small, with great joy and love. In this way, through her simple way, St. Terese, the Little Flower, helps us to fuel the fire by helping us to see how everyday things can be "everyway" things that help us to live and embrace our faith. Take St. Francis of Assisi who taught us to preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary to use words, in other words to let our actions be a living example, a living proclamation of the faith we have within. Take Gianna Beretta Molla, after just celebrating the gift of life in October, we remember how she defied the opinion of doctors to abort her baby and became an advocate of life. Lastly, one who is a personal favorite of mine, and not simply because he is Polish but because of what he taught me as Pope and that is Blessed John Paul II the Great. As a JP2 Generation Priest, I am inspired by his affirmation of the youth, hence the reason I wore the vestment I received at World Youth Day this past summer in Madrid, and I am also encourage by his constant insistence to not be afraid to follow Christ. To never, ever be afraid to say Yes to the God and although we may face persecution like many believers before us, we too receive the reward of the Saints as the Gospel tells us: eternal life.

The saints they are our example and our inspiration and we honor them today, we also honor today our own call to sainthood. We are all called to be saints, to lead and inspire the next generation by our example, just as so many holy men and women have done for us.

Now I know some of you maybe thinking, well I'm just not worthy or, if you only knew what I've done or, that's not me. But who are we kidding, really?! Nothing could be further from the truth. We are called to sainthood! Think of it this way, as Sara, a friend of mine, reminds me all the time, that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. Meaning that there are many saints who have a checkered past and yet because they found the way, they found Christ and turned their lives towards God, they became the saints we know today which by the same token means that we have tomorrow and we have the power to be the saint God calls us to be, to get back up and choose Christ.

The saints, help fuel the fire within, they help to keep the light of Christ burning brightly by their teaching and example. How will we, like the saints, respond in faith? How will we keep the image placed upon us at baptism by the "Master Carver," shining brightly? Which saints will we look to to guide us on our way, to inspire and encourage us, to help us become the saints of today that God calls us to be?! And lastly, what example will we set for further generations, how will we go forward to inspire the next generation of saints and honor the call of sainthood?