Today we are called to remember all of the saints who followed the example of Christ! They came from all walks of life, they all have had different talents, social positions in life, some were peasants and others may have come from noble backgrounds. They were men and women who were known and many who were unknown, yet they all have one thing in common, they imitated Christ in their lives. They had a spiritual thirst which drove them forward seeking the truth. They didn't run away from their everyday troubles, no, they sought to be strengthened and improve their lives and the lives of their families. They sought out the spiritual guidance of the Holy Spirit to fight the good fight. What was their motive? It was to love God, to become a child of God, to live the commandments of Christ in any situation.
Although our world is much different than the one they lived in, we share similar difficulties that life has bestowed upon us. Today people are lucky if they are able to hold onto their secular jobs. How many moms and dads are struggling to feed their families, and to keep those families together, in their homes, due to the rising cost of living? Everyday life continues to be a struggle however we are called to strive for perfection, as were the saints. This is the will of God for each of us.
Yet today, we have before us a great cloud of witnesses, the saints, our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and so many nameless others who are always and ever present. They inspire us, they teach us to follow the commandments of Christ even in the darkness of our struggles today. Their lives are proof of God's work in this world today, of what Christ has called us to do. “To feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to visit the sick.” Matt: 25:35-37 We can all do it, to emulate Christ, without excuses.
In today’s Holy Gospel and Epistle reading, we hear the call of Christ and the path which we must be willing to walk if we are to follow Him. Today’s is not an easy Gospel for us to hear. Our Lord reminds us that “he who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.”Matt: 10:37-39 Our Lord is asking for a complete devotion and surrender to God, letting nothing else over shadow our love for Him. He states further that “he who seeks to keep his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matt.10:39
Saints have taught us that we can communicate with God. One of the ways they gave us is through prayer. Prayer takes us to indescribable places. When we pray to saints we usually pray to saints who we know and love. These saints love with the same love of Christ in return. They also seek for the salvation of mankind with the same intensity as Christ does, and they intercede with that love before the throne of God.
The way to salvation is never closed, it is for us to attain. If we work hard and can overcome the world around us, if we focus on Christ and let His grace fill us, share His teachings, His love, then imagine all that is possible. Let us shout out as the Apostle Peter did, "O Lord, save me". Matt 14:30 for the Lord is ready to help us. "Knock and the door will open!"Matt 7.7. We know that we are not perfect. We know that we are not without sin. The Church teaches us that there is only one who is without sin, Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ!
Let us thank the Lord for the cross which we bear, for without the cross we cannot be saved. The Lord wants all of us to be saved and to be united with Him and all the saints who glorify God.
Amen. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!
Fr. Stephen Masliuk
St Mary's Protection, Bridgeport, CT