Today, on the Memorial of St. Martin de Porres, I had the seminary Mass. These were the readings of the day Readings and below is the homily.
The great convert and preacher, Msgr. Ronald Knox once said, "The Church is divided into three large bits; part of it is on earth, part of it is in heaven, part of it is in Purgatory. The Church in heaven is All Saints. The Church in Purgatory is All Souls. The Church on earth is all sorts."
And here we are. All Sorts. We are all sorts invited to become all saints. The first step, after being invited by the Lord into the life of charity, is actually to reply to the invitation.
The original invitees in today’s Gospel all responded negatively. I myself have never owned land or had a wife. And, I presume that most of us—at least those who live inside of RT 495—have never purchased oxen. All of us, however, have our excuses ready at hand as to why we must turn down the Lord’s daily invitations to us. Worse yet, sometimes we don’t even bother sending an RSVP. We don’t feel the need to reply or to excuse ourselves. We can let these invitations pass without a second thought. (This, by the way, is one way our daily examen can be of great help to us. We are confronted in those moments by all of the invitations that have come our way during the day.)
Another step to becoming all saints is to remember that we were not actually on the A-List. The A-List all refused to come. We are the riff-raff, the people found hanging out on the streets and alleyways, along the highways and the hedgerows. We are here, not because we deserve it, but because the one who invited us is extravagantly generous. As St. Paul reminds us, the way all sorts become all saints is to have the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus—who humbled himself.
Along with humility, we who dine at this Eucharistic banquet are invited daily to grow in extravagant charity toward others. We are invited to imitate the banquet giver who showers his generosity on those who have no capacity to repay.
For the past two days, we’ve directed our gaze towards All Saints and to All Souls. Today, I want to say a brief word about our life together here among All Sorts.
It’s worth reminding ourselves now and again how blessed we are to be here. Our life here together—our friendship with one another--is something very beautiful. There is a lot of humility and a lot of charity in this house. I hope that you also have the experience of looking around this banquet hall—seeing the example of the priests and seminarians who live here—and gratefully thinking, “How did I get on this invitation list?” At a moment in time when there is so much division, hostility, and rancor in society and even within the Church, I think our life here is an experience of the Kingdom and its newness and its joy.
It’s worth reminding ourselves how privileged we are to have been invited inside. And it is worth our regularly expressing gratitude to our host for bringing us together into this banquet hall. God always foresaw our being together here. He foresaw us helping one another to grow in humility and in charity. He foresaw us helping one another to be and to become priests after his own heart. At this very moment, our Divine Host is gathering us together so that we can become All Saints.
St. Martin—whose feast we celebrate today—earned the nickname, “the charitable.” That’s a pretty good nickname. He is always pictured holding a broom, a sign of his deep humility and willingness to do any act of charity. May Martin the Charitable, intercede for all of us today, that we grow in humility and in charity. That day by day in our life together, we move from all sorts to all saints. And may our fraternal life together become so radiant in charity that it draws many others to the Banquet of the Lamb so that the Master’s Home might indeed become full.