The Solemnity of All Saints
Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 John 3:1-3
Whenever I think of this feast of All Saints, my mind goes back
to my studies at St. Louis University. The SLU pep band regularly played,
“When the saints come marching in,” at all the basketball games. It
was a bouncy, upbeat song--to which the crowd knew the words.
In many ways, today’s feast is bouncy and upbeat. In the first paragraph
of our first reading, there is the call to salvation for the Chosen People.
The second paragraph extends this call to persons from “every nation, race,
people, and tongue.” Happily, each and every person is called to sanctity.
As the song’s lyrics state, “I want to be of that number.” John points
out in the second reading that the call to be children of God may be unrecognized
and misunderstood but that our faith and hope will include us among the saints.
The familiar Beatitudes are the Gospel reading today. These strange
blessings are not directives on how to get ahead in life. They are
not encouragement for passive acceptance of world order. They are norms
of holiness because it is in our weakness, difficulties, suffering that we
The Beatitudes are also norms for happiness. Who are the happiest persons
I know, and why are they happy? Answers may vary, but it strikes me
that the happy person is one who looks at others, self, and God and is accepting,
satisfied, at peace. Such a person is not tied down by envy or status,
by resentments or self-pity, by fear or scruples.
We all want to come to this kind of happiness, but it is not happiness without
trial. Our painful experiences can and should be a source of growth.
It is a happiness filled with faith and hope. A fifteenth Station of
the Cross is sometimes proposed. I would like to propose a ninth Beatitude:
“Blest are those who are accepting, are satisfied and at peace with others,
self, God; happiness will be theirs in this life and in eternity.”