All Saints (to the students of St. Mary’s Academy)
Preached November 1, 2018; St. Peter’s Catholic Church, The Dalles (to the students of St. Mary’s Academy)
Yesterday was Halloween. The word is short for “All Hallows Eve”. Just as Christmas Eve leads into Christmas Day, All Hallows Eve leads into All Hallows day. What is that? It is the same as All Saints Day.
As a noun a ‘hallow’ is a ‘holy person’. A saint is a ‘holy person’.
We can also use the word ‘hallow’ as a verb, in which case it means ‘to make holy’, ‘to treat as holy’, or to ‘recognize and honor as holy’. Well what does ‘holy’ mean?
Basically, ‘holiness’ refers to the unique excellence of God the Creator who infinitely surpasses all that he creates. Nevertheless, while God’s holiness is unique it is something he shares with us. The saints are those who have been ‘hallowed’ by God.
In today’s 2nd reading we heard about two ways in which God shares his holiness. He shares his holiness with us through faith and baptism whereby we truly become his children. He shares his holiness in a more perfect fashion with the saints in heaven, whom we honor today, who have become so perfectly like to God that they are able to see him face to face.
Of course we are most familiar with the verb ‘hallow’ from the prayer, “Hallowed by thy name”. God is holy. Nothing can change that. But we do not always recognize and honor him for his holiness. When we pray ‘hallowed by thy name’ we are asking that all men might recognize and honor the unique holiness of God. We are asking that God might be held as ‘holy’, which he truly is, in the hearts of men.
Actually, when we learn to hallow the name of God, then he hallows us; he makes us to be holy. The saints in heaven got their by hallowing the name of God. They are those in whom the prayer, “Hallowed by thy name” has been fulfilled.