Homilies | Father Nathan

St Gabriel Catholic Church | Pompano Beach
God Bless You All

Father Nathan Homily | November 01, 2020

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

The Beatitudes

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”

— Matthew 5:3:12A

Solemnity of All Saints

Today’s Readings:

First ReadingRV 7:2-4, 9-14

Responsorial PsalmPS 24:1BC-2, 3-4AB, 5-6

Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Second Reading1 JN 3:1-3

Gospel ReadingMT 5:1-12A

 

Father Nathan | Homily

Solemnity of All Saints

All saints day…it’s a puzzle and question.

What it tells us is, how you become a saint. But do we really understand what that means? As we mark this All Saints Day, it is tempting to put saints, literally, on a pedestal.  Just look around this church.  We see saints in stained glass and in wood.

Today We honor the memory of countless unknown and uncanonized saints who have no feast days

So all baptized Christians who have died and are now with God in glory are considered saints. All Saints Day is intended to honor the memory of countless unknown and uncanonized saints who have no feast days. Today we thank God for giving ordinary men and women a share in His holiness and Heavenly glory as a reward for their Faith. This feast is observed to teach us to honor the saints, both by imitating their lives and by seeking their intercession for us before Christ, the only mediator between God and man (I Tm 2:5).

The Church reminds us today that God’s call for holiness is universal, that all of us are called to live in His love and to make His love real in the lives of those around us.

Holiness is related to the word wholesomeness. We need to hear what this feast says to us. It is a summons, a call, a challenge to every one of us who is here.  Looked at another way: All Saints Day is nothing less than a dare. This feast says to us: dare to be more.

DARE TO BE A SAINT.

Some of us may hear that and laugh. Sainthood is a noble ambition, an idea, but is this something we can realistically expect to attain? The short answer is: yes.

Because the great truth about saints, something we so easily forget, is that they were just like us.

Flesh and blood, strength, and weakness.  They were people of appetites and longings, ambitions and disappointments, vanities, and eccentricities. They were simple sinners just like the rest of us.

That was how they began.  But that wasn’t the whole story.

The simple but reassuring fact is that nobody is born a saint. IT’S SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO BECOME.

St Augustine

Let me talk about my favorite saint St. Augustine. St. Augustine left his Christian background and joined the Manichean sect. He also fell in with friends who followed a hedonist approach to life. He also remembers an incident when a youth – stealing fruit from an orchard because he liked the idea of rebelling. This period stuck in his mind and helped formulate his idea of the inherently sinful nature of man. Despite his wayward lifestyle, he developed an interest in philosophy and was impressed by the writings of Cicero. In his late teens, he developed an affair with a young woman from Carthage. She gave birth to his illegitimate son. So, we have stories of saints like our life.

Nobody is born a saint.  It’s something you have to become.

Sometimes those who become saints aren’t the ones we expect. They may be the filthy, the rejected, the outcast, and the homeless. People like Benedict Joseph Labre.

He grew up the son of a prosperous shopkeeper but felt called to give up everything and follow Christ. He spent his life wandering from church to church in Rome. He rarely bathed, never washed his clothes. Some people were repelled by him. But the purity of his devotion and his love of God moved and inspired those who saw him day after day. When he died at the young age of 35, priests of Rome preserved his filthy clothes as relics and they buried him in one of the churches he loved.  Today, he is the patron saint of the homeless.

  Nobody is born a saint. It’s something you have to become.

Don’t dismiss any of the saints. They are closer to us than we may realize. They have struggled with sin and temptation, they’ve walked the journey toward holiness, sometimes stumbling, sometimes falling, but always getting back up and moving on, resolving to do better, to be better, and to aim higher.

They worked to be what this gospel is calling us to be.  To be poor in spirit.  To be meek.  To be merciful.  To make peace.  This is how we begin to become what Jesus called “blessed,” and what the Church calls saints.

It’s a call to greatness.  But this feast day reminds us, whether we realize it or not: it can be ours. This kind of greatness is within our grasp.

The second reading beautifully exhorts this.

“Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall have 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”.

So it’s an invitation to see him face to face. Saints are nothing but the people who see God face to face.

All Saints Day beckons us to something beautiful.  It reminds us of our great potential—the promise that lies within each of us. The promise of holiness.

It is the promise that was fulfilled in the countless people we venerate this day—our models, our companions, our inspirations, our guides, our parents, our friends, our ancestors. All the saints. ‘They give us blessed hope’.

Because they assure us again and again: ‘NO ONE IS BORN A SAINT’.

BUT EVERY ONE OF US, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, CAN BECOME ONE.

The feast gives us an occasion to thank God for having invited so many of our ancestors to join the company of the saints. May our reflection on the heroic lives of the saints and the imitation of their lifestyle enable us to hear from our Lord the words of grand welcome to eternal bliss:

“Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joys of your master”

– Mt 25:21

Amen

Have a Blessed Week,

Fr. Nathan

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Past Messages from Father Nathan

From The Desk Of Father Nathan | November 1, 2020

From The Desk Of Father Nathan | November 1, 2020

On November 2nd we are going to celebrate All Souls Day. This is a holy day set aside for honoring the dead. The day is primarily celebrated in the Catholic Church, but it is also celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as well as a few other denominations of Christianity.

read more
From The Desk Of Father Nathan | October 25, 2020

From The Desk Of Father Nathan | October 25, 2020

Every week as we profess our faith, we express… “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic
Church and THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS.” The author of this letter to the Hebrews wrote. “Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and the perfecter of faith.” (12.1-2)

read more
From The Desk Of Father Nathan | October 18, 2020

From The Desk Of Father Nathan | October 18, 2020

The Elections are quickly approaching. Our people have such a love for our nation – which is good. Let us love our nation. I have no other thought than
to say just this: “How blessed we are all, to live such a blessed country. God Bless America!

read more
From The Desk Of Father Nathan | October 11, 2020

From The Desk Of Father Nathan | October 11, 2020

The Elections are quickly approaching. Our people have such a love for our nation – which is good. Let us love our nation. I have no other thought than
to say just this: “How blessed we are all, to live such a blessed country. God Bless America!

read more