We all called to be saints! That’s what we celebrate today. The church celebrates the multitude of those who have gone before us who now already behold the face of God. Today’s feast recognizes specially those who are not yet canonized. They are your family members lived lives of love and service even in small actions all of their daily activities! They are part of that “great multitude,” mentioned in the First Reading from Revelation?
We want to be part of them. Notice: the angels in this reading show us what to do. They cry “Blessing and glory … honor, power and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” How do we do that? We do that, give glory to God, with our lives: what we do with our lives and how we live our lives, yes, even in the smallest actions, the smallest acts of kindness toward another.
Notice the readings the Church puts before us today. The Book of Revelation says that this great multitude have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb.” We begin to do this here on earth before we die. We do that by the way we serve God and others. We are given strength to do this when we receive the Eucharist. The Eucharist also takes away our sins. We say before we receive communion: “Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.” We ‘wash our robes’ in this way – or rather Christ washes them for us by his dying and rising. One St. calls it “our daily washing.”
Dorothy Day is an example what the church calls heroic virtue. She is known as a convert to Catholicism, as well as the founder of the Catholic Worker movement, its newspaper and houses hospitality. She is celebrated for social justice causes. It is not generally known that she trained to be a nurse and 30 years after founding the Catholic worker, she agreed to nurse a friend’s common-law wife, Nanette, who was dying of cancer, herself a Jew. Upon Nanette’s request, Dorothy baptized her as she lay dying when there was no time to call a priest. This is an example of what church calls “heroic virtue” investigating the lives of those being considered for canonization.
Ordinary virtual also leads to sainthood. You parishioners here at Saint Andrew are serving God and washing your robes doing what you are doing right now. The mission God has given you now to care for your families and to serve the parish is to grow in God’s life as you love each other AND in make contributions to the life of Saint Andrew in the projects and programs. Just this past weekend alone I saw bustling preparations for our coming Christmas Bazaar and our parish picnic at Devine’s Corn Maze. That even alone took much coordination, planning and many hands to make it happen so delightfully with so much fun and festivity. Each of us has a special gifts and serving with them is the mission God gives us right now. Your gifts are not just for you alone. This is the point. They are for others AND for your own sanctification – that is, God’s light shines through you as through a stained glass window as you serve God’s people to bring about God’s reign on earth. Then when we die, after our purification, we join all the holy ones “who have done God’s will throughout the ages” as the Eucharistic Prayer says. We celebrate them all, and we want to join them one day. And who of us doesn’t want to be a saint and even wind up on a stained glass window?