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Father Muench Says...

Saints of T-shirts, tennis shoes and pizza

Sept. 4, 2013

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Last Sunday, my homily was about being a saint.  I was going over what I was to say as I walked into the sacristy to vest for Mass.

The altar servers were standing around, so I asked one of them, “what is a saint?”  One of them said he learned about being a saint at Camp Guggenheim from Father Tom.. The thing he remembered was “that a saint wears shorts and a T-shirt, tennis shoes and eats pizza.” 

During my homily at the Mass, I began by turning to the servers and asking, “Jesse, what is a saint?”  He remembered his definition exactly. It is such a good response – a good way to begin to understand sanctity. A saint is an ordinary person who does ordinary things.  This is important for all to understand. 

Often, when we think of a saint, we think in terms of extraordinary – extraordinary abilities, extraordinary miracles.  All canonized saints have accomplished such extraordinary things; that is true.  However, there are innumerable saints – never canonized, yet, truly saints. These are the T-shirt and pizza saints.  They are ordinary people who know how to do ordinary things, extraordinary well.  We are all called to be such saints.

We have all been saved - saved by the Lord.  I remember ages ago while I was on vacation somewhere or other that one of the staff at this inn asked me, “Now, you are a priest, aren’t you.  How many souls did you save while you were here?”

I didn’t have the time to go into a long explanation.  If I had, I would have explained that I have never saved any souls.  We are all saved by Jesus – Jesus saves us through his life, death and resurrection.  Jesus is Our Savior. 

Through our Baptism, we are united to the Lord Jesus in a very unique way.  Our sanctity actually begins at Baptism – and so today we are called to live like a saint – the saint that we are.

It all begins in the Incarnation:  Jesus became one of us, like us in every way.  This human race – our human race – is blessed in such a magnificent and wonderful way. We are a sacred, holy race and Jesus is one of us.  Also, one of us was chosen to be the Mother of Jesus – the Blessed Mother, Mary.  So, we are truly a chosen people – Jesus was one of our race.  We are a saintly people and so we must live like saints.

The prayers of our Mass often remind us of whom we are.  In the First Preface of the Sundays in Ordinary Time, we pray, “For through the Paschal Mystery, he accomplished the marvelous deed, by which he has freed us from the yoke of sin and death, summoning us to the glory of being now called a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for your own possession, to proclaim everywhere your mighty works, for you have called us out of darkness into your own wonderful light.”

So how do we live our sanctity?  Each of us certainly has a different path, a different way.  As a saint, our goal is to make this world of ours a better place.  We, as the baptized, are called to bring Jesus to our world in every simply, ordinary way that we can.  I am not talking about preaching – please we have too many preachers.  What we need are more people who know how to live, who know how to live in the Spirit of Our Savior, who know how to bring peace and love to those we meet in life. Saints make our family the happiest family on the face of the earth and our community the most peaceful place on the face of this earth. 

As the saints of the Lord, we can and should make our world a better place. Can you image what this world would be like if everyone – every nation – every leader understood this?

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