Friday, November 1, 2013

"Problems all left alone," or Homily # 2 for All Saints

Since I posted my homily for All Saints last night, having preached at the vigil Mass, I'm putting up a Friday traditio featuring Lou Reed.

I imagine that most of my readers know that Reed died this past Sunday at age 71. So, Reed's lovely song "Perfect Day," some lyrics from which were tweeted in tribute by no less than Cardinal Ravasi, who serves as the President of the Pontifical Council for Culture (unsurprisingly to the chagrin of some), is our Friday tradio.

The Velvet Underground

In an interview with Harry Siegel, Reed's bandmate from the Velvet Underground, Moe Tucker, who played drums, remembered Lou. What I was most struck by in her remembrance was this- "Lou and I had a special friendship. I loved him very much. He was always encouraging and helpful to me and a good friend." Being a good friend is underrated. It's a pretty rare thing, at least in my experience.

Just a perfect day
You made me forget myself
I thought I was someone else
Someone good

As a result of these reflections, I composed a second homily for The Solemnity of All Saints, which I will preach this evening, in lieu of the one I preached last night:

Solemnity of All Saints- homily #2

Readings: Rev 7:2-4.9-14; Ps 24:1-6; 1 John 3:1-3; Matt 5:1-12a

Before beginning my homily in earnest, I want to note that the Beatitudes we've heard constitute the core of Christian discipleship, that is, they set forth the manner in which anyone who claims to be Jesus' follower seeks to live. In them our Lord sets forth the attributes of sanctity, of holiness.

I want to begin my meditation this evening by citing most of our second reading for this glorious Solemnity of All Saints:
Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2-3)
I really believe that the saints are the ones who show us who God created and redeemed us to be. They are the ones who fully grasped, through their trials and tribulations, as well as through their failures, what Christian singer/songwriter Ricardo Sanchez stated so succinctly, "The devil knows your name but calls you by your sin. God knows your sin but calls you by your name."

Because the Church, as our first reading from Revelation this evening shows, is not only the new, but the eternal Israel, God's chosen people, what God tells Israel through the prophet Isaiah can be applied to the Church, that is, to us: "But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, Jacob, and formed you, Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name: you are mine" (Isa 43:1).

Because we're not saints, the saints are not always who we want them to be. Most often we want to reduce them, which we do, as Dorothy Day observed, only to dismiss them, to attenuate their very challenging and provocative witness. We need not get too uptight about this and start judging ourselves by way comparing ourselves to them. The process of sanctification, of becoming holy, of becoming a saint, is nothing other than becoming who you truly are through living your circumstances day-by-day, but doing so sub specie aeternitatis, under the aspect of eternity, which simply means with the hope, in the expectation, that, in heaven, every day is a perfect day.

As much as anything, All Saints is about our heavenly calling, our destiny, fulfilling the end for which each one of us was made in the first place, which is to be loved and, in turn, to love. All Saints, especially coupled with tomorrow’s Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, or, All Souls, is also a reminder that we do not walk the path to destiny alone, but together. After all, you will not inhabit heaven all by yourself, but in communion with others in the communio sanctorum.

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