ALL SAINTS DAY
This is the last time I compose some thoughts on the readings of today’s liturgy and on the significance of the day we celebrate: All Saints Day. There is something about sitting down each week and putting fingers to keyboard. Over the 42 years I have been a priest I have read some of these readings numerous times but each time I return to them there is something new to be found.
The reason for this “discovery of newness” is that we change from day to day, moment to moment, year to year. When I read words that are familiar, I read them from the moment in life at which I have arrived. You do the same. It, the readings and prayers, is never the same old thing because we are never the same old thing.
All saints day began as Martyrs Day and in the seventh century changed to what we have now. The Saints we focus on today are not the ones officially proclaimed by the Church to be in God’s presence. Those saints, the canonised ones (their names are added to the canon or list), are chosen by the church as models for us. And as models they are not all the same. They had all kinds of different personalities and different life journeys. They had not all been “squeaky clean” from cradle to grave – Peter, Mary Magdalene, Augustine to name but three who easily spring to mind. All Saints day is not about them.
All Saints day is about millions of people (too many to count) who chose to live the Beatitudes. They are people that we have known as friends or family members. These men and women, boys and girls, practised integrity, were compassionate, spoke out against unjust treatment of others, endured persecution and lies as a result of their living in the way they saw Jesus living.
Now they walk with all the other saints in the halls of heaven. They are at home in the community that is the Trinity and praise God but are also praying for us who are still on the journey to the Father. Name them as you record their names for the November masses so that the book displayed on the sanctuary during November will be filled with the saints we knew and whose assistance we delight in.
We are filled with God’s spirit which enables us to call God “Father” and know we are beloved daughters and sons. I have lived as a child and adult in the parish of St Agatha in total for 35 years the last 17 as the priest entrusted with care of the community. Those years have seen me welcomed into the very fabric of your lives and I treasure that as a singular blessing and thank you for it.
I am not retiring as some believe I am (though it is an appealing thought!). Along with my canon law work in the city as vice rector at Holy Spirit seminary (part time) I now shall assist the men preparing to be priests to have some idea of what lies in store for them and how they can be the shepherds God want his family to have.
Fr Adrian Farrelly
|Nov 2, 2015
|All Saints 01.11.2015