November 1, 2020 – Solemnity of All Saints
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/110120.cfm)
There is something I want to ask you now. I want you to close your eyes for few moments and in silence, remember the face of your best-friend, that great friend or friends of yours whom you are most comfortable with, that great friend who is always ready to listen and comfort you, that great friend who knew your deepest secrets and pain in life, who has been with you through thick and think, in joy and sorrow.
Our friends are indeed, gifts to us. Through them and with them, life becomes more colorful, entertaining as well as comforting. As we discover the person of our friends, we too, through them discover more ourselves. That intimacy and affection shared with our friends become the source of our strength especially when life seemed to be not favorable to us. Though, we may not see every day those close friends of ours, yet, our friendship with them stays.
With this experience of friendship, this reminds me of the saints, whom we remember today. Saints who are also called as friends of God have this special bond with the Lord. Surely, each saint had their own friends too and through their human experience of friendship, they developed their friendship with God.
Thus, the presence of the Saints in the Church brings us into an awareness on how God works every day in our life. The life of a saint and all those who have lived a holy and joyful life is a manifestation on how God transforms human life creatively and wonderfully through friendship.
This means that living a holy life is a constant calling of friendship with God. We may struggle to identify God’s voice in the midst of so many voices. What makes a person holy then, is his/her daily commitment in choosing God and allowing God to transform him/her every day. This tells us that saints also experienced mistakes, failures and sins. They too are haunted by their own insecurities and guilt, unfaithfulness and inconsistencies, selfish desires and demons. Yet, every time they fell down, they rose up and chose God again. Indeed, this makes the saints to become closer to God because they grew in friendship with God by knowing themselves and recognizing God every day.
This tells us of that desire of the human heart to long for God. Indeed, our very life finds its purpose and meaning with God. This is what our Psalm proclaims to us, “Lord, these are the people who longs to see your face.” Our longing for God also explains our deepest hunger and thirst for intimacy and love. God satisfies our deepest longing which sometimes human connection cannot satisfy. Yet, our human experiences of friendship point and bring us to God.
This is the invitation for us today, that each of us, like all the saints whom we remember today, will grow in friendship with God by knowing ourselves through our weaknesses and strengths and recognizing God who touches every moment of our life.
Moreover, the Gospel of Matthew which reminds us of the Beatitudes, are the very attitudes of those who are growing in the friendship of God. We become blessed and discover more graces when we begin to realize that we are not the center of everything, but God. The attitudes of dependence and confidence in God, of gentleness and mercy and the desire to be a person for others are fruits of that friendship with God.
Again, in the first letter of John, we are reminded that we are God’s children, and this is who we are. We are God’s beloved sons and daughters. It is God who claims that we are His. Hence, we too can confidently say now, “I am God’s beloved and God is my dearest friend!”
Allow this powerful words and our powerful God to transform us today and the rest of our life just as saints were transformed!
Whatever difficulty we are experiencing at this moment, never lose hope with yourself or with God because God never loses his hope in us. Believe in your friendship with God.
Hopefully, by being more aware of our identify as God’s children, we too shall grow every day in our friendship with God and with one another. Remember this too, “a true friend of God recognizes the face of God with others,” with our brothers and sisters and with the rest of God’s creation. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR