Summary: This is an All Saints Day (Halloween) message affirming that Christians are called to a holy life made possible by the gifts given by God.
ALL SAINTS DAY 2005 EPHESIANS 6:10-18 FALSE FACES AND REAL ARMOR
Today is All Saint’s Day; a feast day that has been celebrated for
hundreds of years within the church, particularly within the Roman
Catholic, Orthodox , and Anglican Communions.
As with Christmas, this Holy Day has become a secular holiday in which people, young and old don odd costumes and pretend they are someone else.
In recent years, many people look for make-overs in their appearance and their clothing so as to enhance their standing in society. False faces and false clothing and false prayers do not enhance one’s position in this life. Our heavenly Father and in time, everyone else, sees through the pretense.
Christians have lost stature in many parts of the world in the past 200 years. Our sacred days are caricatured in the world. Halloween is a relatively new cultural invention, and in an odd way, reveals just how much ground the Church has lost.
The commercial world, the secular world hasn’t a clue as to the meaning of All Saints Day. The Satanic and superstitious themes that run through the day give it a dark side sending off messages that this is more than a day of play. Murder and death are part of the Halloween Movie fare. Horror sells. So does witchcraft. Horror has become regular entertainment fare for a growing segment of our society and has become a reflection of a reality that exists at the margins of our world.
Old and young alike enjoy a party and playing pretend. There is nothing wrong with dressing up to be somebody, when it is for fun, for a party. But sainthood, being identified as holy is not a pretend game. The neglect of the Saints in our country’s tradition is a pity because it can make the whole idea of sainthood and of the communion of the saints, seem inaccessible to people. Popularly, a saint is pictured as one who is perfect; someone who has been a spiritual overachiever. It is true that those the universal church has declared to be saints lived good lives, but these wonderful folk are only bright examples of something that is very common; bright examples of a deep and abiding faith in Christ Jesus that has issued forth in action in real lives. This can happen to us as well.
Pope JPII identified hundreds of ordinary people who were extraordinarily generous in giving of themselves and their fortunes in Christ’s service in the midst of our own evil modern times.
The word Saint derives from the word Sanctus - which we translate as the word "holy". That simply means: set aside for the service of God.
In Paul’s letters, the word - sanctus - the word saint - is applied without further distinction to the company of those who believe in Christ Jesus and who strive to live faithfully according to his teachings and his example.
"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the
saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus - grace
to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle... to
all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints. Grace to
you and peace...."
And the church in Corinth:
Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, to the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ...
Saints are all around us: people who are holy, people who are set apart from the rest of the world who are distinguished because they believe in Christ Jesus and live faithfully as he has shown them.
Saints are normal people, normal people who differ from most others in this world, not because of the degree of their moral perfection, but because of the degree of their trust in God, and how they live their faith daily. Their example inspires others to believe in and follow the Christ.
The Corinthian Christians were hardly “saintly” as they had severe moral problems in their daily life. Yet, because they had set out to follow Christ, Paul calls them saints even though they were not perfect. We are saints. We are called to be saints. We are not perfect, but we are set apart by our baptism to serve God and mankind in Christ’s name. Thus we are holy. Showing something of Christ’s light in our lives.
In this evil world, some call children martyrs when they tie explosives to themselves and set it off, killing innocent people around them. These are not martyrs; they are not dying because they have lived for a cause. They die not out of love and in an attempt to serve God by living righteously in this world; they die to act out hatred. So even the word “martyr” has, like many other good like saint and the Holy Day called All Saints, is losing its meaning.