I have met 2 saints in my life, I have met Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. But I suspect that I have met many people who have gone on to be saints and who will never be formally canonised.
- I have met people of outstanding and heroic virtue.
- I have met people who have had excelled in the life of prayer.
- I have met people who have dedicated their life to God, even although life has never been easy for them.
- I have met people whose faith has been tried and tested and who have not given up.
- I have met great teachers of the faith.
- I have met people who are truly humble.
- I have met people who have given everything away to God and literally everything away to the poor.
- I have met priests, women and men, families, young people who shine out like beacons of goodness and holiness.
All of these people have been on the road and on the way to becoming saints.
Often when I meet such people you feel as if you are rubbing up against something unique, special, real and true. It gives you a hunger for the same, it gives you a desire to be in their shoes and to imitate them.
There are saints living next door to us. Saints are in our families. Saints are among our friends. Saints who work with us. Saints work away quietly, under the radar. People who spend their lives praying for others. People who spend their lives doing good. People who offer up incredible lives of physical and spiritual suffering for others.
Today’s feast is all about them. The call to holiness is not a call to the few. God has not designed things so as a few get to heaven. God has not designed things so as he has a short list of people he counts as his friends. He offers his friendship to all, to all who are baptised and to everyone who has ever lived, ever existed, ever drew breath, every walked , ever talked, ever known life.
His friendship is for everyone. That is what this feast is all about. It is about the call to holiness which has come to us all since life came to be on this planet.
Life gives us the chance to know his friendship. In life we are being made into saints, the nuts and bolts are being put into place. Screws are being tightened, bolts are being fixed – we are being made into saints now and throughout our lives. Saints are in heaven but saints are all around us. Saints are next to you in in the bus, in your house, at work and here in Church is that person, you also are that person.