Each year the Christian calendar takes us on a journey with Christ. We anticipate His coming during Advent and celebrate His arrival at Christmas. During Epiphany we receive Him as the Light of the World that has entered our darkness. Through Lent we walk with Him on His road to the cross. We witness His triumphal entry, His crucifixion, and His glorious resurrection during Holy Week and Easter. We stand with His disciples as they watch Him return to His Father on Ascension Day. We are among them as the Holy Spirit gives birth to the Church on Pentecost.
Then during Ordinary Time, this Spirit patiently forms us into the people of God. Near the end of that time, only weeks before we crown Jesus as King of all Kings, we are given a glorious overview of what it means to be His Church, His Body, His Bride. This is the purpose of All Saints Day. “Saints” literally means “the holy ones”. On All Saints Day we consider what it means to be “the holy ones,” members of the Church Universal spanning all ages, nations, and human divisions.
On All Saints Day we read Isaiah’s description of the great banquet where all God’s people will feast together and death is destroyed forever (25:6-9). We share Daniel’s vision of the coming and goings of the various earthly kingdoms, culminating in God’s saints possessing His eternal Kingdom (Daniel 7:1-18). We are given a foretaste of our destiny as we welcome the King of Glory into His holy temple (Psalm 24) and as we watch Jesus raise Lazarus (John 11).
We sit on the mountainside and listen to Jesus describe what it means to live in the Father’s presence, now and for all eternity (the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-12). And with John we watch as Christ’s pure and lovely Bride descends for unending union with her Husband (John 21:1-6).
All Saints Day is a chance to revel in our oneness with Christ and all His holy people. In this dark and difficult world, it is a reminder of who we are even now and who we are surely becoming in Him.