God’s invitation to become saints is for all, not just a few. Sanctity therefore must be accessible to all. In what does it consist? In a lot of activity? No. In doing extraordinary things? No, this could not be for everybody and at all times. Therefore, sanctity consists in doing good, and in doing this good in whatever condition and place God has placed us. Nothing more, nothing outside of this.--Blessed Louis Tezza
(Scripture text: Rv 7:2-4, 9-14)
I, John, saw another angel come up from the East,
holding the seal of the living God.
He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels
who were given power to damage the land and the sea,
"Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees
until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God."
I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal,
one hundred and forty-four thousand marked
from every tribe of the children of Israel.
After this I had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice:
"Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne,
and from the Lamb."
All the angels stood around the throne
and around the elders and the four living creatures.
They prostrated themselves before the throne,
worshiped God, and exclaimed:
"Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving,
honor, power, and might
be to our God forever and ever. Amen."
Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me,
"Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?"
I said to him, "My lord, you are the one who knows."
He said to me,
"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."
So many of the saints lived modest, even hidden lives while on earth, and they were probably greatly surprised by the 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 religious 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.