Wednesday, November 4, 2015

It's Game Day in the Christian Life...And Our Fans are the Real Deal

Solemnity of All Saints/Yr B/2015
Holy Spirit Parish/UK Newman Center

          Game day in the Bluegrass is something special.  In the fall at the Stadium; in the winter at the Coliseum or the Arena – wherever and whenever, Kentucky fans in their blue and white are the real deal.  Before I learned my ABC’s I learned that I was a Wildcat – that we bleed blue in our family.  I could sing the UK Fight Song before I could say the Pledge of Allegiance.  Think about it – we camp out in tents for a week straight to get tickets just to meet the players!  When our wildcat men and women take the field or the court, the bands play, the crowds roar, the announcers rev it up, and a rumble swells from somewhere down deep that you start to feel in your feet and quickly radiates through every fiber of your being. 
          We’re one of the team – all of us – all pulling together for every score – some of us in uniform and in the game – some of us in the stands – but all of us working together, striving together, all of us on the team!  I’ve often wondered what it must feel like to be there on the field or the court, heart and mind focused on the win – knowing that all those folks in the stands are pulling with you, cheering for you, striving with you somehow, hoping for you…I wonder what that’s like…
          …and then I remember that’s why we celebrate All Saints Day; to remind us that we do know exactly what that’s like if we just look around with the eyes of faith.  Go ahead – look – remember those readings and LOOK!

Over there - there she is – St. Therese the Little Flower – radiant with love, cheering for us – each and every one of us – pulling for us in every battle we’re fighting and celebrating every small victory.  And over there – look – there’s St. Francis, wrapped in his gentle humility, praying for us perhaps a little harder now that one of his sons has become our bishop.  Can you see them?  

All the Saints – the ones whose names we know and the ones whose names we’ve never known – gathered around us right now like a packed house on game day in the Bluegrass – cheering us on, praying for us, struggling with us and for us – urging us on, supporting us, drawing us – all the way to our heavenly homeland.
The marvelous truth of All Saint’s Day is so profound we sometimes choose to overlook it:  All of the saints who have gone before us – all of them whose names we know and whose lives we celebrate and imitate, and the vast multitude of silent witnesses who have never been named or honored by the Church – we honor all of them today and celebrate their victorious arrival at their heavenly reward.  But we do all of that precisely because we know that they’re there – that they’re here – cheering for us with every bit as much intensity as the throngs of Wildcat fans on game day in the Bluegrass.  We celebrate all the Saints today because they are partners with us, cheering us on to our heavenly homeland.
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          Which of us are called to sainthood with them?  Who among us is destined to be a Saint?  ALL OF US!!  Each and every one of us is called to be a saint!  All Saints Day reminds us that all the Saints we know – and the ones who have never been known – have reached the goal that we were all created to attain.  They prove to us that making it to our heavenly homeland is possible because they’ve made it – and they lived lives just like you and I live in bodies just like you and I have; they received grace from the same Sacraments available to us, and they made use of that grace just like you and I are trying to do.  They remind us that we are called to follow in their footsteps, and they pray for us and help us along the way.
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          Imagine what it must feel like to be a Wildcat player on game day in the Bluegrass, feeling the encouragement and goodwill of so many gathered together to urge you on, to cheer you on to victory.  Just imagine it… now look around you and see with the eyes of faith all the saints gathered here to cheer us on right now; see the enormous cloud of witnesses, larger than we could ever count – see them and hear their prayer and encouragement.  Can you feel the roar of their encouragement cheering us on in the depths of your soul?  Can you see it with the eyes of faith?
“I …had a vision of a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue.  They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.  They cried out in a loud voice: Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne and from the Lamb.”  They’re crying out for us – they’re praying for us!  And one day – through their prayers, and ultimately through the blood of the lamb, brothers and sisters – one day, Lord willing, we will join them – for in God’s mercy we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
Here we are – its game day in the Christian journey.  And they’re here with us, cheering us on, praying for us – together with us, all a part of the same team – praying for us! 

            St. Agnes & St. Lucy - pray for us!
St. Augustine, St Francis & St. Dominic – pray for us!
St. Benedict, St. Scholastica & St. Meinrad – pray for us!
St. Thomas Aquinas & St. Therese of Lisieux – pray for us!
Blessed Mother & St. Joseph – pray for us!

Amen.

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