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All Saints Day November 1, 2005

 
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Fr.Paul Weinberger
Pastor


Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 199
Location: Greenville, Texas

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 5:24 pm    Post subject: All Saints Day November 1, 2005 Reply with quote

Homily by:
Fr. Paul Weinberger
St. William’s Roman Catholic Parish
Greenville, Texas
11 / 1 / 2005 All Saints Day

After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count from every race, nation, 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.”

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit

Amen

One of my favorite writers of comics is Larson, who wrote the Far Side. He had a cartoon showing a man and his dog. The dog was sitting on the floor in the kitchen and balancing a dog biscuit on her nose. The man was evidently very proud of how he had trained his dog; the dog understood exactly what her owner was saying. It was amazing. They were of one mind and I worry about that because if they are of one mind it means someone has really sunk down low.

Anyway, the owner was giving the same speech he gave when he wanted to impress someone, about how the dog, Ginger could hold that bone on top of her nose until he gave a command for her to toss it up and eat it. So the cartoon reads like this. The front of the card said,

WHAT WE SAY

“Ok Ginger hold it, hold it. Good girl Ginger, hold it, hold it Ginger, hold it.”

When you opened the card it said,

WHAT DOGS HEAR

“Blah, blah, blah, Ginger. Blah, blah, blah, Ginger. Blah, blah, blah Ginger.

We think that there is such a mind meld.

Just a few months ago I was in the cafeteria just before the Sunday afternoon Holy Hour and there was a little boy there, Carlton Ehrman. Carlton is a very good child and as his parents say,

“And then he wakes up!”

[Laughter] I always ask Carlton if he is being good and then I say,

“Of course not, you are awake.

Carlton is usually asleep on the front row here and everyone would recognize him if they saw him. Anyway I was showing Carlton a picture that someone had given me. It had a triangle at the top and beneath the triangle was a monstrance with a consecrated Host. Below the monstrance there was a lamb that had been slain and the lamb was on top of a book with seven seals and on either side of this picture were two angels. So I was telling Carlton, who was four at the time,

“This triangle up here represents God the Father and this monstrance with the consecrated Host is Jesus. He was with me there; his parents had taught him about this by taking him to Benediction. I continued Now, this is a Lamb and this is Jesus.

Carlton looked at me as if I were pulling his leg and said,

“Uh uhhhh

His older brother probably pulled his leg a lot so he thought I was doing the same thing, right? How could that be Jesus in the Host and then this Lamb be Jesus? That is not Jesus; Jesus is on the Cross over there. But if you look right past the cross there is a big picture that I just went by my dad’s home today and picked up because I am storing it there. This is a famous picture and the original picture is so large that it could fill the entire back wall of this church and then some.

The original picture is in a Church in Belgium. The Church in Belgium is dead; the Catholic Church in Belgium is dead so the Church that houses this picture is now a museum. Thanks be to God that they didn’t sell this Church and is now a museum. They have preserved this piece and it is called Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck. Father points to the bottom part of the Altarpiece that he has displayed, which is the picture of the angels incensing the Altar and can be seen by clicking this link

http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/eyck/ghent/ghentopn.jpg

Above that panel pictured over there, is God the Father seated on the Throne with the Blessed Virgin Mary at His side. It is just such a full representation of what we hear on this Feast of All Saints Day in the Book of Revelation, from chapter seven. All the people in the picture are coming in from every direction without crowding or pushing because this is Heaven and we don’t push in Heaven. The people are of all shapes and sizes, young and old, and are from every race, nation, and people. They are surrounding the Altar of God in Heaven. On top of the Altar is a Lamb and the side of the Lamb has been pierced. The Blood of the Lamb is flowing into a Chalice. This is beautiful imagery.

The Book of Revelation is as if God is pulling back the curtain of Heaven and allowing us to peer in; if fact, that is exactly what it is. St. John is given a vision of Heaven and is told to write it down. It is a beautiful image of how, in Heaven if we make it there, we will be surrounding an Altar where Jesus is and will be praising God for all eternity. The Beatitudes we heard today, which are from the Gospel on the Sermon on the Mount, in my opinion is like one of those medallions you see in detective stories where two people make a covenant or pact, and in order to prove that they are heir to that covenant or pact they take a medallion and break it in an irregular angle and each takes half. Later on they take the medallion and put it back together and the story is over, right? I believe that this is only part of the medallion; the other part is the Lives of the Saints.

If you actually took the Sermon on the Mount and approached your children or grandchildren and said to them,

“Oh this is the Sermon on the Mount and it is beautiful. Now Suzie, this is the Sermon on the Mount and look right here; Jesus is saying to look at those who hunger. And look Johnnie, the clean of heart….oh this Sermon on the Mount is just so beautiful.”

What Suzie and Johnnie are actually hearing is,

“Blah, blah, blah, Suzie. Blah, blah, blah, Johnnie.’

You talk to your children and grandchildren and they say,

“Gee mom, dad, if this Gospel makes you this happy then we are so happy for you but, we have no clue what you are talking about. Can I go and play now?”

At the end of the Jubilee Year 2000, the Holy Father wrote a beautiful Apostolic Letter called Novo Millennio Ineunte, which has been greatly ignored. In this letter, Pope John Paul II wrote that what we need today is the theology of the saints. Last night I turned on Mother Angelica at EWTN and there was a panel of very astute Catholic men and among them was Regis Martin, Fr. Scanlon, Scott Hahn, and a Dr. Glenn Olson, who had just written a book. I only got to hear part of the show but this was a very interesting panel to assemble. Dr. Martin, who had spoken at Blessed Sacrament a couple of times, is a great husband and father. The men were discussing Dr. Olson’s book and Dr. Martin said that what is missing today in the Church is an understanding of the Communion of the Saints.

Last year I was talking to a very wonderful elderly priest who many of you know, Fr. Carl Vogel. At the time of Confirmation the kids are told that they will not be confirmed without a saint’s name so they have to pick the name of a saint. The kids come forward and the Bishop calls out their saint’s name and says, “Be sealed with the Holy Spirit”, and so on with each person. If someone comes forward and they don’t have a tag with a saint’s name in it, he can’t say, “St. Blah Blah, be sealed with the Holy Spirit.” You just won’t be confirmed. So I asked Fr. Vogel if he’d ever been to a Confirmation and heard a sermon given about the Lives of the Saints and he said he never had. I told him that I had heard one the year before but it probably didn’t count because I preached it. [Laughter]

Here we have a Holy Day of Obligation and if many people ask their children and grandchildren about the Holy Day called All Saints Day, the parents would probably just get some blah, blah answer and then they would ask to go out and play. If children understand that, after we get all the work done then we can go to Six Flags, you talk about children getting that work done quickly. You have never seen brothers and sisters working together so good; you would think they were the Waltons. [Laughter] They know that on the other end is Six Flags and they are working together helping each other, which is great to see and it is sad that we don’t see it more often. But, when we talk to our children about Heaven, we have to admit that we don’t do it enough. It is like the beginning of that fictional movie, the Wizard of Oz, they tell Dorothy that she must start at the beginning but they tell her that they have no idea where she is going. Oh no, from the very beginning she knows that her goal is Oz and that she has to talk with the Wizard that lives there.

Children need to be motivated concerning Heaven and the other part of this key with the Sermon on the Mount are the individual lives of the Saints who have been declared along with the unauthorized versions known as our relatives, friends and strangers. For example…Just over a hundred years ago there was a young girl that had just made her First Communion. She was about twelve years old and was brutally killed by a man living in the same apartments with her widowed mother and her. This young girl’s name was Maria Goretti. Alessandro Serenelli and his father lived in an apartment in the same complex that Maria lived in, which was in a very poor area of Italy. Alessandro had made passes at this very beautiful young girl.

While her mother was assuming the burden of bringing in the crops after her husband died of malaria, Maria was taking on the cares of the house; you know, she would load the washer and program the microwave…. oh wait, those had not been invented yet and there was no electricity so she really had a lot of work to do. She never complained and even after she finished all the chores she asked her mother to allow her to walk to the nearby town for a catechism class so she could make her First Communion. I’m sorry, but if I had not had parents who pushed me along I would probably be in jail right now, who knows!

Anyway, here is the twelve-year-old girl walking by herself to the next town and she didn’t have to do this but she wanted to make her First Communion and she did. It wasn’t long after this that Alessandro attacked her. He waited until his father was at the barn taking a nap and Mrs. Goretti was out on the tractor. Maria was out on the top stair doing the mending because back then instead of throwing clothes away that were torn, people use to mend them. So Maria was out mending and Alessandro ran up the stairs past her and ordered her inside. Of course she didn’t go so Alessandro went into his room and slammed the door.

As a young man of nineteen, from floor to ceiling in his room, he had papered his walls with pornography so that from any point in the room he could see the pornography. Alessandro stayed in his room for a while and then went into the next room, which was the kitchen and again yelled to Maria to get inside. She wouldn’t go so he went to where she was mending and taking care of the sibling/baby and dragged Maria into the kitchen while leaving the baby on top of the second story stairs.

Mrs. Goretti looks up from the tractor and sees the baby unattended and doesn’t see Maria so she gets off the tractor and runs to the house finding her daughter crawling out to the landing having been stabbed many times and critically injured. Maria was rushed by “ambulance”, come on “giddy up”; that is the kind of ambulance they had. They rushed her to the hospital but they didn’t want to use anesthetic because there was danger of death. She was already dying. They couldn’t give her any water because she might choke and die. Well, she died after twenty-four hours of incredible pain. The priest came and before he gave her Holy Communion he said to her,

“Maria, do you forgive Alessandro Serenelli?”

This twelve-year-old girl with no education said to the priest, probably through gasps and blood,

“Yes Father, I forgave him immediately and I want him to be with me in Heaven.”

She died and Alessandro was tried, pleads guilty and was sent to jail. He didn’t repent at all and thought nothing of having killed Maria. Then one night he had a dream and Maria appeared to him in all of her Heavenly beauty with an arm full of lilies, which is the symbol for purity or as the translation here says, clean of heart. It was from that dream that Alessandro was converted. He had been like a rock in opposing it, but finally allowed a priest to hear his confession. Eventually he was released and once released he went and knocked on the door of a Franciscan Monastery. The woman that answered the door was Mrs. Goretti. He fell down and asked her forgiveness for having killed her daughter. She said to Alessandro,

“Of course I forgive you. If Maria has forgiven you then so do I.”

When Pope Pius XII canonized Marie about fifty years after her martyrdom, Alessandro was in attendance along with Mrs. Goretti and Maria’s siblings who were now grown. Maria is a perfect example of someone who was pure and clean of heart and always thinking about Heaven.

“Yes Alessandro, of course I forgive you and I want you to be with me in Heaven.”

We don’t think of Heaven enough; it is not on that channel, right? Yet, here is the Feast of All Saints, which is to get our attention back on heaven because tomorrow’s Feast is not about All Saints it is about All Souls, meaning those Poor souls in purgatory who are not in Heaven yet. Of course for some reason we think we are just going to bypass Purgatory and shoot right into Heaven. I pray that this happens but in the meantime there is a crisis of saints and it is not the bishop’s fault.

The other day I was outside and there was a child so that I told I was sorry his leg was broken and how long had it been that way. He asked me what I meant because his leg wasn’t broken. I told him I figured his leg must be broken because he didn’t come to say hello to me, right? It is not the bishop’s responsibility to learn about the saints. I remember in either the 4th or 6th grade, every kid in the Diocese went down to the Majestic Theatre to see the Life of Saint Maria Goretti. Of course we know that today everyone is pure…. yea…or as Carlton would say, “Uh Uhhh!”

This Sermon on the Mount is absolutely useless if children today are not shown the Communion of Saints in all its vivid color and grandeur. In the Communion of Saints there are boys and girls and men and women of every stripe, race, creed, color and nation and they have met challenges greater than you and I have and have responded with “I BELIEVE” in God the Father Who is seated on the Throne, and in His Son Jesus Christ Who is the Lamb.

After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count from every race, nation, 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.”

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit

Amen
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