Amidst the multitude of gods that we in our society worship, one god seems to be particularly popular at the moment: the god called ‘fear’.
Fear is a very powerful god: it can make us look at the world in apocalyptic ways, as if anything that does not fit in our routines means Armageddon. Fear of terrorism makes us do funny things at airports, like taking off our shoes because there might be a bomb in them. Fear of strangers can make us pull up the drawbridge and close our eyes to our brothers and sisters in Calais, who celebrate the Eucharist, sacrament of our solidarity as members of the same body, in a tent. In the church we are not completely free from fear, either. During the recently finished synod on the family, amidst the feelings of hope and the sense that something important was happening here, voices of fear about the way the church might take were heard as well.
In this time in which the god ‘fear’ seems to be particularly popular, we celebrate All Saints, the feast of the new people that God calls. The saints – all these unknown and a few well-known people who have followed Christ in their lives – these saints have had their fears and anxieties. They were not, however, very worried about the end of times. Their interest lay not in the end of times, but in the fullness of time, when God sent his Son so that we might become children of God and inhabitants of His Kingdom (cf. Gal 4,4-7).
In their turbulent times, the saints radiated God’s eternal light. They showed in their everyday lives that God is present in our world and continues to love humanity. These saints can protect us from pessimism and cynicism, by showing us God’s love in every conceivable way. On this day we honour them, and in our lives we imitate them by finding our ways, in our times, of radiating Gods mercy.
Tomorrow we will celebrate All Souls Day. The two feasts, All Saints and All Souls belong together. On All Saints Day we look with admiration to that crowd of saints that have finished their pilgrimage to God and pray that we may be one with them. On All Souls Day we pray for the people we lost, and pray that one day we might be united with them in Heaven. All Saints and All Souls are days of solidarity. We rejoice in the solidarity of the saints, and show our solidarity for the dead for whom we pray. In doing that, we become what we are: free children of God and joyful pilgrims on the way to His Kingdom.
Br Stefan Mangnus O.P.