Solemnity of All Saints
(Revelation 7:2-4.9-14; I John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12a)
A distinguished attorney is asked, “Who is the most important person in the courtroom (to assure justice).” Perhaps it is the judge who sees that due process is followed. Or maybe it is the collective members of the jury who decide guilt or innocence. Or possibly it is the defense lawyer who must investigate his client’s case and persuade the jury. But the man after decades as prosecutor, judge, and defense attorney responds surprisingly. He believes the most important person in a courtroom is a reliable witness. Such a person’s truthfulness and conviction bring about justice.
We can define saints as reliable witnesses to Jesus. Their faith, holiness, and integrity witness to the primacy of the gospel and the efficacy of his grace. Their words and actions provide testimony that Jesus has risen to support his followers.
The Church has officially declared only seven thousand or so saints. But this number hardly indicates all the people throughout Christianity who have lived the beatitudes. Today we celebrate the millions of un-proclaimed saints. Their number includes slaves and slave-owners, people of every continent and even of different religions. All of us have known people whose words and actions gave reliable witness to Jesus.