Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle B

Feast of All Saints


 Matt 5. 1-12

“Seeing the crowds … this is what he taught”

Today we celebrate the Feast of All Saints. We remember the countless saints whose names will never be known but whose lives on earth were holy. As we do so, we need to remember that the call to holiness is addressed to all, to “the crowds” and not just to some sort of elite. We are all called to be saints. The realisation of this truth draws attention to the fact that God is much more lovingly generous than we could ever imagine, more inclusive than we would ever think. In Jesus Christ God is calling each of us to grow in sharing his life, for God is far more accepting and welcoming than we would ever dream. Yes, me, called to be a saint!

That word ‘saint’ often evokes thoughts of someone who is clearly virtuous and presumably without sin. The real meaning of the Latin word ‘sanctus’ is ‘holy, set aside, separated from the ordinary’. In this sense of the word it is God alone who is the Holy One, the totally Other, the Transcendent. We who are baptised have been given a share in his divine life. Not by our own merits but entirely by God’s grace we have been given a share in the holiness, the otherness, of God. Our on-going task is to live what we are - saints of God, set apart, consecrated through union with Jesus Christ to continue his work in the world.

In today’s Gospel Jesus spells out what that demands of us - what are to be the basic attitudes of those who follow him. His disciples will be ‘poor in spirit’, trusting totally in God. They will share the sufferings of ‘those who mourn’, be kind and ‘meek’ to others and ready to work for ‘those who hunger and thirst’. They will be ‘merciful’ and upright - ‘pure in heart’, and they will do their best to ‘work for peace’ and for those who are ‘persecuted for the cause of right’. This is the sort of life that will separate the followers of Christ from worldly self-centredness and mark them as saints of God.