Last week the church remembered All Saints (Nov. 1) and All Souls (Nov. 2) Day. Our student body and staff celebrated Mass with Fr. Fritz on Wednesday. Fr. Fritz delivered a homily about the saints that truly resonated with our student body. We wanted to share it with the Crusader community at large.
Rev. Fritz Schlueter, Central Catholic Campus Chaplain
All Saints Mass Homily to CCHS Staff & Student Body
November 1, 2023
Athletes amaze us.
Think of the bottom of the 9th, the bases are loaded, the count is 3 and 2, the pitcher winds up, he delivers, and crack! Home run. Grand Slam. The whole stadium is on their feet. Like when Mbappe scored two times in two minutes in order to tie the score in the final game of the world cup. Or when a running back truck sticks a linebacker. Athletes amaze us.
They also challenge what we think is possible.
The four-minute mile, the two-hour marathon, swimming the English channel, climbing the tallest mountain. Unbelievable. How is it possible that human beings can do such things?
Today we celebrate the athletes of the Church.
Not the athletes of organized sports who win a temporary crown but the athletes of holiness who win an eternal crown. Today we honor women like St. Katherine Drexel who dedicated her fortune and administrative abilities to establishing schools for the poor, for the immigrant. We are amazed by the memory of St. Athanasius a bishop in Egypt who was exiled from his city five times for defending the faith. We marvel at St. Joan of Arc, who as a poor teenage girl, united the French and freed their land in a time when women and the poor never led anything. Yes, saints are like athletes.
Like athletes, saints amaze us.
The saints challenge what is possible. Just as athletes are experts in their sport, the saints are experts in holiness, how to live, how to love, how to serve, how to experience joy in the face of suffering.
Saints are experts in holiness and we’re amateurs, hoping to learn from them.
In the world, amateurs watch while experts compete. There’s hardly anybody who wants to watch me play on my rec soccer team, and while there’s more people who come out to watch our school’s teams, those crowds don’t hold a candle to game day at Progressive Field, or First Energy Stadium, or Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. People want to watch Travis Kelce, and Messi, and Mike Trout, not us. In the world amateurs watch the experts compete, but it is not so in the kingdom of heaven.
The saints are rooting for us.
The saints in heaven, the ones who see God face to face, the ones who were experts in the beatitudes on earth, they are rooting for us. In the kingdom of heaven, the amateurs are on the field and the experts are in the stands. It’s as if Messi were to come to your soccer game and cheer you on. It's like Henry Ford chanting your name as you work on your car. It's like Adele giving you the thumbs up before you start to sing. The saints in heaven are your fans.
The saints rejoice with your successes and mourn with your failures.
When you fail a test, Blessed Solanus Casey, a priest who due to his academic difficulties was forbidden from hearing confessions and preaching, he shares in your sadness and frustration. When you do a chore without expecting help, Maximillian Kolbe, who took the place of a man unjustly condemned to death, jumps to his feet shouting. When you feel uncomfortable in how you look, St. Ignatius, who was so self-conscious that he had his leg broken to look better in silk stockings, he shares in your pain. When you take the time each Sunday to worship God and come to communion with him, all the saints of heaven shout “Glory.”
We can all aspire to be saints.
The example of the saints fires our hearts and brightens our eyes. They show us our true potential and encourage us to go after it. Our worship here today unites us to their worship in the heavenly throne room. Because of that, the saints, the experts in holiness, they become our fans, and they root for us who are still amateurs. Unite yourself to them in the Eucharist, and you will shine like them in glory.