Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14;Psalm 24:1-6 1 John 3:1-3 Matthew 5:1-12
“I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count.” (Revelation 7:9)
Imagine surfing the Internet to discover you have A-list celebrity status in a distant country. This happened a few years ago to little-known Canadian actor Rob Stewart. In Serbia’s struggle for democracy, Stewart’s Tropical Heat television character Nick Slaughter, a resilient detective in an idyllic tropical locale, captured the country’s imagination. He became a national symbol of freedom and political opposition. Popular slogans appeared on posters saying: “Nick Slaughter for President.” Soon after his discovery, Stewart arrived in Serbia to a hero’s welcome.
This could be the story of most of the saints we honor today. So many of them lived modest, even hidden lives while on earth, and they were probably greatly surprised by the hero’s welcome they received once they reached heaven’s gates. Like Jesus, they were frequently misunderstood and even considered enemies while on earth. But now they are celebrated throughout the world and given seats of honor in heaven. Talk about a magnificent turnaround!
The saints we honor today include John of the Cross, who was imprisoned and beaten by members of his own order, but is now a Doctor of the Church. They include the Mohawk maiden Kateri Tekakwitha, who was denied food on Sundays for refusing to work on the Sabbath, but whose scarred face was miraculously smoothed and made beautiful after her death. They even include Peter, who was executed for leading a radical religious cult.
There are countless other saints— including many of our relatives—who responded to Jesus’ invitation and followed him faithfully. Imagine how astonished these hidden ones were when they entered heaven to cheering crowds! Imagine, too, the reception awaiting you as you keep saying “yes” to the Lord. Who knows? Maybe even Nick Slaughter will be there to welcome you!
“Father, help me to follow in your Son’s footsteps.” ~wau