But today the named and the named stand together, the great cloud of witness, too numerous to count grabs our attention. These are both those who are in heaven but also those on earth, those saintly souls daily losing their life for the sake of the kingdom.
We enter into the largeness of God's family on this Holy Day.
This Holy day is not a break in our routine as much as it is a pause in which we take a step back to recognize the living God who wants to break forth into our lives and fill the routine of our living with his presence daily.
We are reminded again that time is not measured simply by a 40 hour work day, the movement of the stars, the rotation of earth on its axis or the revolution of earth around the sun; rather time is determined by the creator of the stars; it is He who creates and sustains time as we know it.
A Holy Day brings us face to face with the beauty that is awaken by faith. It is faith that gathers us, unites us in our differences, builds our community that transcends time and space, this great multitude.
I call your attention to question posed by the elder in the first reading, "who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?"
What a beautiful question posed as John peers into heaven.
Who are they and where did they come from? In other words, How did they get here? But in reality the question is meant for us, "How do we get there?" How do we arrive where they are?
As the Psalmist points out, "Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? or who can stand in his holy place?"
Jesus gives us the path way to ascend in the gospel as he lays out the Beatitudes. We listen to him and we follow after him and simply repeat the process as we journey forth encouraged never discouraged no matter the circumstances we encounter.
The saints give us a pattern by which we are to pattern our lives. They show us that the invitation to follow Christ is not just pie dream but a reality motivated simply by the desire to be near God.
As we celebrate we unite our journey to theirs as we march to the rhythm of eternity and thus we refuse to settle for 2nd best. Onward we march with our eyes fixed upward and hearts beating with love for him who has loved us so.
a few words from the Pope:
"today we contemplate the mystery of the communion of saints in heaven and on earth. We are not alone; we are enfolded in a great cloud of witnesses...The glorious hosts of saints intercede for us before the Lord; they accompany us on our journey toward the kingdom; they urge us to keep our gaze fixed in Jesus...At the liturgy we are invited to share in the heavenly jubilation of the saints, to taste their joy. (as we receive communion we have a foretaste of their communion with God)...The saints are not a small caste of chosen souls but an innumerable crowd to which we raise our eyes...as we look at the shining examples of the saints we are reawaken to the great longing to be like them; happy to live near God, in his light, in the great family of God's friends."
To be a saint requires neither extraordinary actions or works nor the possession of exceptional charisms; rather simply to listen to Jesus and then to follow him without losing heart when difficulties arise.