Home » Blog » ALL SAINTS DAY 2020 (31ST SUNDAY, A)




image from the internet


Lately I have been thinking of saints, especially at the approach of the 500 years anniversary of Christianity in our country.


Why are there only 2 canonized saints for the Filipinos who have been mostly Catholics for the past 500 years? And why are these saints not famous even among Filipinos?


Filipinos pray to Padre Pio; they promote devotions to newly proclaimed Blessed Carlo acutis, and they love St. John Paul II and Mother Teresa. Yet rarely do we hear Filipinos speak of their devotion to San Lorenzo Ruiz and San Pedro Calungsod, our only canonized saints, unless it’s somewhere near their fiesta.


Today is a rare occasion when All Saints’ Day falls on a Sunday. This is a great feast in the Philippines because, in practice, it merges with All Souls’ Day. Aside from celebrating the saints, we also flock to the cemeteries to visit our departed loved ones and to re-unite with our living loved ones in a mixture of prayer, fiesta and tradition.


Since it is still “Covid times” we are banned from entering cemeteries in droves and so must be content to pray for our dear departed in our church and in our homes.


What are saints? For many Christians, Catholics, Orthodox and even some Protestants, saints are important personalities in the arena of faith. They are heroes of the faith in the way they imitated Jesus’ life in their own way of living, giving and loving.


But saints are also divisive figures in that many non-Catholics target devotions to saints as unchristian, idolatrous, and pagan practices. They see how we honor our saints with flowers, prayers, gestures of affection and jubilation and they judge that this divide our attention from God.


Many Catholics indeed do not understand all the practices about saints and when confused or confronted by critics, abandon their practice and even their Catholic faith.


So what really are saints? In revelations 7, the same question is asked? Who are these people? And God replies: “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”


In these words we know how God himself regard the saints. First they are believers in God who are now in heaven, a great multitude, from all places and races of the earth. They surround Gods throne and are there to worship and adore God and his Christ, the Lamb of God. Like you and me, they are brown, black, white, blonde.


Second they are survivors of the trials of this earth. They went through difficult ordeals in their lives. Like you and me they had problems at home, troubles in workplace, struggles with health, etc. Because of their faith, they survived to tell the story of God’s love and mercy, of human weakness and conversion, of hope in the midst of trials.


We remember our departed relatives and friends close to the feast of the saints, hoping that they too will merit the grace of God to be welcomed into heaven, to enjoy their rest and to pray for us, like the saints are doing constantly in the presence of the Savior.


But praying for us is not all that the saints (or the departed) do. It is to their example of faith, hope and love that we must adhere. It is their faithfulness that we must learn to follow. It is their deep trust in the God of mercy that we must incorporate in our own lives today.


Many times we pray to the saints to survive the trials of this life. The saints however are cheering us on in heaven to survive not by prayers alone but by the power of faith and perseverance in the knowledge that God loves us so much.



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