Today’s feast is about the whole point of human life. We’re made for heaven, to spend eternity with God in His kingdom of love. Jesus came down from heaven to show us the way to heaven where he awaits us. Today we celebrate those people who followed Jesus all the way there, the great and famous saints we know about, and the countless quiet saints, probably many of those who passed on to us the faith, who died in the love of the Lord and now live in His love.
And now to us: two brief thoughts for our consideration.
1) Salvation is God’s free gift to us. Like the gift of life, the gift of everything I am and everything I can do, Holiness and Heaven are always and exclusively a gift of God beyond anything we can merit.
2) As much as Heaven and Holiness are God’s gift that we cannot earn, God out of love has made them the result of our choice, the result of our acting on that longing.
To get to heaven, as St. Thomas Aquinas said, we need to will it, we need to desire it, we need to choose it. All who get to heaven choose it and all our choices here are earth are like those forks in the road: leading toward or away from God, in which we set our feet on or away from the path to heaven, and to God. It is a choice between true, lasting happiness and momentary pleasure; a choice between light and darkness; a choice between good and evil; a choice ultimately between life and death.
Jesus came down to show us the way to choose well, and to help us to choose well, but there are competing voices that attempt to seduce us to choose against what God wants.
The saints are those who have chosen well. They are the multitude of men and women, just like us, from every nation and language, who have responded to God’s grace
and chosen him. They are the ones whose example the Church puts before us today and who are interceding for us that we might choose as they did.