Solemnity of All Saints

Dear Friends and Parishioners of Saint Jerome,

Pax Christi semper vobiscum!

This weekend we celebrate the different icons of holiness. These holy men and women in the history of the Church show us heroically the virtues that made them authentic collaborators of God in building His Kingdom. Their holiness comes from God’s grace. They did not do it on their own. Their hearts were open receptacles of God’s sanctifying blessings that transformed each one of them into a true image and likeness of Jesus Christ.

The Beatitudes in the Gospel of St. Matthew offer a vignette of the same holiness. ‘Blessedness’ which is derived from the Greek term “makarios,” which means fortunate or happy, is indicative of one’s state of being. Blessedness means being favored by God. It is His special predilection. Those who are blessed bear in themselves the identity of Jesus Christ. Indeed, we are blessed! God’s blessings exemplify the love of the Father. One of the Prefaces at Mass says,

“So great was your love that you gave us your Son as our redeemer. You sent him as one like ourselves though free from sin, that you might see and love in us what you see and love in Christ.”

(Sunday Preface VII)

 Jesus–poor, chaste and obedient–is the embodiment of the Father’s blessings. He lived in poverty of spirit and mourned with compassion for those who were suffering; he exemplified meekness and humility of heart; he relied not on physical satisfaction but transcended it into hunger and thirst for righteousness. Jesus is unconditionally merciful; His heart is never tainted with impurity and remains focused on God’s mission. Jesus, who is the peacemaker, was also persecuted for the sake of righteousness and resisted evil with patience. While He was insulted, He returned blessings instead. He defeated death by living the life of God eternal. This true love is what it means to be holy.

We are each and all called to holiness, for it is, indeed, what God wants us all to become. Perhaps we should ask ourselves, what makes us holy? Do we know that there is already a spark of God’s holiness in us by virtue of our Baptism? We ought to cultivate this fire within by receiving the Sacraments worthily–frequent Confession and Communion–as vehicles of Christ’s grace to us that can transform us fully into the image and likeness of God. He recreates the world each day. We are always given many opportunities to recognize God’s blessings upon us and be inspired by them. Our state of being ought to be transformed by the “the blessings” of each day. The saints before us chose to be that way. They opened their hearts and their souls to God so that His grace could penetrate them and transform them gradually. In the end, these holy men and women became the image of Jesus Christ, and they are now sharing in the bliss and splendor of God’s life for all eternity. May it be the same for us who are also invited by God to share in His divine life, partially in this life and fully in the next, as His saints-in-the-making.

I wish you all a blessed week.

Sincerely in Christ and Mary,