We are coming to the end of October and the Spirit of Halloween is in the air, leaves are dropping, temperatures are dipping, and children have visions of trick or treating and costumes on their minds. Of course, All Hallows Eve is the origin of ghosts and goblins when centuries ago, people believed that the dead would return for one evening each year, the night before the Feast of All Saints and the subsequent Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed on November 2nd or better known as All Souls. Coincidentally, on November 2nd my father celebrates his 99th birthday which really means he is moving into his 100th year. Who would have thought?
It is important to reflect on the lives of the saints, those extraordinary human beings, men and women who lived their ordinary lives in some extraordinary ways. Who is your favorite saint or your patron saint? Who is the person who inspires you to live your life faithfully? Recently, the church canonized two leaders in our church, Saint Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Oscar Romero. Pope Paul VI was elected Pope in 1963 and ensured that the Second Vatican Council continue the vision Saint Pope John XXIII who began the Council to the surprise of his brother Cardinals and bishops throughout the world. He envisioned aggiornamento, or “open the windows” of the church to let in the power and breath of the Holy Spirit. It did that and more, and today we pray for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us, to open our eyes, and remove any blindness that keeps us from focusing on our faith in Christ. Despite the sexual abuse scandal, it is the Spirit that guides the church and will guide it through this mess, these turbulent times.
Archbishop Oscar Romero moved from being a quiet, reserved bishop to an outspoken advocate for the poor, seeing their needs, and their fervor to live lives of faith in a country with societal divisions based on economic or educational status and even one’s background. He became a martyr for the people as he delivered the Gospel message in 1980. As Bartimaeus saw Jesus for who he was, may we have the grace to see Christ for who he is, and what he calls us to be – servant leaders like so many men and women who have gone before us. Saints of God, pray for us!
Father Larry Hendel, Pastor