Homily preached by Frank Tuchols, Pastoral Associate
St. Paul’s on the Green, Norwalk, CT
The Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost – All Saints (transferred) – November 04, 2012
Today couldn’t be a better time for our community to celebrate Sainthood.
First and foremost because of the seven members of our community whose baptism we are celebrating later today. But I also believe that it’s a good time to reflect on Sainthood because of the national election just a few days away. For me celebrating Sainthood is to celebrate our day to day challenge to continue our growth in holiness. That is the task of our Christian community.
The saints remind us that growth in holiness has been with us since Jesus. The Saints are our supports, our encouraging models, our examples that holiness is very possible and continuing to happen among us right now. The Saints are women and men who remind us with their witness and in many instances with their everyday lives that we are a community seeking and growing into holiness. That’s why we turned to the Sermon on the Mount for today’s gospel proclamation and heard the beatitudes once again put before us by Jesus as a new way to holiness.
Matthew has Jesus give us this new way to holiness on a mountain as the new Moses. It wasn’t commandments like Moses was given. Rather, it was Jesus calling us to be more and moving us more deeply into a holier way of life. We can say that the new morality that Jesus gives is one of being “MORE” for each other and our world.
Jesus gave a new set of ideals focused on love and humility. A higher ideal of spirituality and deeper compassion for others especially those in need. Be meek! Show mercy! Make peace!
St. Gregory of Nyssa called this “Godly Work.” A way for us to imitate God’s love for us. So we have a responsibility to those being baptized today to make sure that they come to know first hand what holiness is and what we’re continuing to strive for.
We also have the ability with our vote on election day to expect similar behavior of those who would like to lead us in government in the days to come. For that we must look more closely beyond superficial advertisements to see if those who want to lead show qualities of holiness whether they are religious or not. We certainly can use our standards of holiness to inform our choices.
In place of our creed today we will now be asked to renew our baptismal covenant. These promises will recommit us to our radical welcome here at St Paul’s and to deepening the holiness of our lives.
May it help us continue to be fitting examples for the newly baptized of our community and may it assist us in fulfilling our responsibility to choose leaders who exemplify the holiness to which we are all called.