Friends in High Places
Homily for the Solemnity of All Saints
Preached on October 31-November 1, 2015 at Jesus Our Savior Catholic Church, Morehead KY and Saint Julie Catholic Church, Owingsville KY
Readings: Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14; Psalm 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab, 5-6; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12a
It helps to have friends in high places. We get to have someone to turn to when we need a favor. We have somebody who will give a good word for us to people in the know. We have known these friends from way back when and they owe us one. Somehow they are related to us: this and that are relatives; there is maybe a college roommate or two; the rest are from our home town. Aside from the connection that we might have with them, they all share something that we do not have: the influence that will get things done. When bureaucracy blocks our path to the Big Boss upstairs, we can count on these friends in high places to intercede on our behalf. They sure know how to send some love our way when we need it.
And let us face it: we live in a world where not a lot of love comes our way. This is the world of the poor in spirit, where those who mourn continue to weep, where the meek gets robbed, where too many starve for righteousness. This is the world where those who forgive are fooled twice, where the clean of heart are dismissed, where peacemakers get shot, where our Faith gets us persecuted. Jesus once called all of them blessed for enduring the bad for the sake of the good. He promised them the Kingdom of Heaven, comfort, satisfaction, mercy, the vision of God, the distinction of being called His children, and a great reward (cf. Mt. 5:3-12). But, the reward has not come soon enough, leaving some of us with the terror that comes from being ignored, the fear that creeps up when we think that we have been forgotten.
Of course, nothing is further from the truth. God not only remembers us; He has carved our names on the palms of His hands (cf. Is. 49:16). It is not He who has neglected us; it is our godless world that has neglected us. “The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him” (1 Jn. 3:1); the reason the world ignores and persecutes us is because it has ignored and persecuted Him. What He endured is what we now endure. And what glory He has is the glory that we will share in the future. We see this fulfilled in the destiny of all the saints: they had gone through what we are going through, yet they enjoy this day the blessedness that Christ says “will be” ours. Their past is our present; their present is our promised future.
The saints not only remind us of what we hope to be. They are also our friends in high places, the ones close to the throne of the Lamb. The Book of Revelation (7:9) tells us that they form “a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue.” They are the ones on whom we can call for favors or for a good word to God, our Big Boss upstairs.