OUR GOD IS THE GOD OF THE LIVING
By Archbishop JOSÉ H. GOMEZ of Los Angeles
For our Church, the month of November always begins with two beautiful feasts of remembrance and hope — All Saints and All Souls.
In this month, the Church calls us to raise our hearts and minds to seek the things that are above! We are called to remember that going to Heaven is the goal that God desires for each of our lives.
Our God is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living.
God did not make death, we know this. He wants only life for his children. Death entered our world through our sinfulness. But death does not have to be the final word in anyone’s life. Because Jesus Christ has conquered sin and destroyed death.
God’s love is stronger than death.
Jesus tells us: “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.”
This means that for Christians, death is not the enemy of life. Death is not even the end of life. It is a new beginning.
When she was on her deathbed, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower, could say: “I am not dying, I am entering life.”
That is the hope that we celebrate in this month of November. And as St. Paul tells us: “Our hope does not disappoint.”
Our hope does not disappoint because Christian hope is much more than a feeling. Our Christian hope is based on the promises of Christ. And we know his promises are true — because on the third day he rose again from the dead in fulfillment of the Scriptures.
So this is the amazing reality of our Christian lives. In the Church, we are baptized into his death and made children of God and heirs to his resurrection. This is the reason we are created and this is how we should live: as God’s beloved sons and daughters.
Jesus teaches us that way to live in the Beatitudes. We are to live according to the pattern of his life — to take up our cross and follow him, to serve and to give ourselves to others in love.
In our Christian lives we do not travel alone. We belong to the family of God, his Church.
We travel always by the grace of God and in the company of Jesus Christ and the Communion of Saints — the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith.
I think about this each Sunday as I process to the altar at our great Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. On the side walls around me hang the glorious tapestries depicting the Communion of Saints — including the great missionary saints of America and holy men and women from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
We are all called to take our place in the Communion of Saints.
We should make ourselves more familiar with the saints, especially those from our country and the continents of North and South America and Asia.
The saints should be our friends and role models as we strive to grow in our spiritual lives. We should ask the saints often to pray and intercede for us.
We should want to be like the saints. To follow in their footsteps. And by our example, in our words and actions, we should try to inspire others to want to be saints, too.
The saints are the “lived Gospel.” They show us Jesus. They show us how to love as he loved.
The great St. John of the Cross said: “At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.”
So we have to use our time on this earth wisely. We have to use our freedom well. We have to always stay faithful to God’s will for our lives. To spend our days with the right priorities. To spend our time on the things that truly matter. On our relationships. On serving God and our brothers and sisters in love.
As we pray for one another this week, let us dedicate ourselves again to leading lives that are worthy of God and worthy of the place in Heaven he has prepared for us.
St. Paul once wrote: “Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, nor has the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.”
Let us strive to be those who love him. Let us live for Heaven!
And let us ask Mary, Our Blessed Mother, to help us always desire to follow her Son and to be saints — until we come to the beauty of Heaven where we will live forever and take our place in the Communion of Saints.
Follow Archbishop Gomez at: www.facebook.com/ArchbishopGomez