Imagine my wife’s surprise when, after Mass on All Saints Day a few years back, a bishop walked straight up to her and said with a smile: "Be a saint." As she did not know this bishop, she was surprised, to say the least. But she took the message to heart as a serious call to holiness.
Jesus challenges each one of us today to be a saint. Today of course is All Saints’ Day, when we celebrate the "holy men and women of every time and place," and ask their prayers that we might become saints ourselves.
But what is a saint? A young boy once asked this question of his parish priest as they were standing together in church. The priest pointed to the saints on the stained glass windows and said, "The saints are those people who let God’s light shine through."
I think that’s a good a definition as any. Pope Benedict agrees. "Nothing can bring us into close contact with Christ himself," wrote the Holy Father, "other than the…light that shines out from the faces of the saints, through whom his own light becomes visible."
Today, the whole company of saints says to us: "Be a saint." The light of Christ shone from their faces. And the light of Christ can shine from ours.