HOMILY: Sitting Among the Communion of Saints

Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted weekly at Leaven in the World. To see the archive of all his posts, just click hereSalesian Sermons

PROTIP: You can take a look at the readings here. This homily focuses on the theme of All Saints.

Solemnity of All Saints | November 1, 2017

When I was in college, I was asked to assist at a nursing home in Camden.

To be honest, I wasn’t that excited.

But that was before I met one of the residents.  She was in her late nineties.  And I was tasked with wheeling her down the hallway.

As we started walking, she began singing.  And I just joined in.  There we were, two strangers singing like a bunch of crazy people at the top of our lungs.

And then she turned to me and said, you’re a saint, you know that.

I laughed and said, not quite.

Then she got incredibly serious.  She told me to stop pushing her wheelchair.  And she made me bend down close to hear her next few words.

She said, hunny, you made an old lady smile today.  You did God’s work.  That’s what being a saint is all about.

I was thinking a lot about that interaction as I was prepping the homily for this morning.

Because I think I still struggle with that idea that I could be a saint.

See, every year, when we celebrate this feast day.  I can’t help but feel like the saints are just a different type of person than I am.

I mean they travelled the world to spread the Gospel.

They performed miracles and drove out demons.

They even endured torture and death for what they believed in.

They just seem so perfect, so holy.

And that’s not me.

See I, like many of you, am exceptionally good at knowing all of my imperfections and flaws.

It may be a bit of a surprise.  But I am just as insecure as many of you feel on any given day.  I constantly wonder if I am good enough for this job.

I dwell on all of my failures and mistakes.

And yes, there are days when I feel like a complete screw up.

And therefore, the idea of me being a saint is ludicrous.

But then I recall the words of that little old lady and I realize.  Maybe she is onto to something

Maybe I’ve got the saints all wrong.

Maybe the saints aren’t that different from you and I.

Maybe what separates the saints from you and I is not the miracles or the famous accomplishments.

And they certainly were not perfect.  Heck, all you need to do is open a basic bio of most of the saints and you’ll read about their flaws.

Maybe what separates the saints from us it is the fact that they realized that each moment of their lives they could choose to do God’s work.

Which means that each moment of our lives.  No matter how ordinary or seemingly insignificant.  We can do God’s work

Gentleman, look around you.  You literally are sitting among the communion of saints.

For in the past year and a half, I have been privileged to watch so many of you do God’s work.

There are students here who battle the demons inside their head each and every day just to come to school.  There struggle with anxiety and depression is a seemingly never-ending journey. But then I watch when one of you stands before your peers and shares your struggle to lighten the load for someone else.  And I see God’s work

There are students here who have endured unspeakable loss over the past few years.  Who have buried friends far too young far too often.  But then I watch as you rally around one another.  I watch you make each other laugh and hold each other as you cry.  And I see God’s work.

There are students here who know the sting of poverty.  Who have watched their parents struggle just to keep them here.  And then I watch as these same students give their lunch money to help hurricane victims in Houston or Florida.  And I see God’s work.

And there are students here who seem to always have that smile.  Who manage to make people laugh and brighten a room, even when everyone else is stressed and tired.  And in that joy, I see God’s work.

No my brothers, you are not perfect.  None of us are.

But that does not mean this feast day is not about you.

For if you keep doing God’s work, I promise that you will be a saint.

May God be Praised.

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