BE THE SAINT OF TODAY
By Rev. Mark B. Augusto, Minister for Students and Campus Chaplaincy, Silliman University Church
Greetings of peace and love to everyone as we take time to remember our departed loved ones and continue to extend our praises and thanks to God for the glorious inheritance among the saints.
November 1st is traditionally observed as All Saints’ Day in our church calendar. The origins of this holy day go back to the Early Church's practice of commemorating the death of Christian martyrs. But this is also very significant to us, Filipinos, because as a people we are quite generous in our memories to the dead, bad people become less bad and good people become even better when they are dead than when they were alive. The truth is, the dead, saint or sinner, have so much to teach the living on how they may live. That’s what the saints of the church are for. They remind us of virtues worth emulating.
From the witness of the scripture, I find it very interesting that the Apostle Paul addressed his letters to the churches whose members are “called to be saints”. For example, in Romans, he wrote, “To all in Rome who are loved by God and “called to be saints”. In his First Letter to the Corinthians, he wrote, “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy.” And in Ephesians, he addressed them as the “saints in Ephesus, the faithful in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Out of these letters, we learn that all Christians are called to be holy or to be saints. That despite our shortcomings in moral conduct, Paul reminded us all of our Christian calling to be saints. For Paul, holiness or saintliness may look so remote but it is a goal in Christian living that is within the reach of every member.
Here, we are challenged to nourish the seed of holiness which has already been implanted in our souls through our faith in Jesus Christ. It is because apart from Christ, these seeds would just wither and die. Therefore, we must remain faithful to Jesus in every way and at all times.
As we observe All Saints’ Day, let it be a time for us to remember examples of Christian living that individuals who have died in the faith have bequeathed the living. Every one of our departed loved ones has something to tell us about Christian living. Let us therefore recall their lives and witness to the faith as we remember at the same time the martyrs of the church through history whose courage and passion to serve the Lord demonstrate that the word of God is worth more than bread, power and glory.
As we thank God for lessons that we’ve learned from them, may we be challenged at the same time to be the Saints of today. Let us remember that God has promised to do great things through us for others and for the sake of all of God’s creation. We might think that we are the least likely candidate to become one, but be confident however that God qualifies the unqualified and that God can do extraordinary things in our ordinary lives. Be the saint of today!