Today’s feast challenges us to become saints! The saints were just like us; flesh and blood, with strengths and weaknesses; people of appetites and longings, ambitions and disappointments, vanities and eccentricities, and indeed like us sinners too. Sometimes those who become saints aren’t the ones we expect. They may be the filthy, the rejected, the outcast, the homeless. Like St Benedict Joseph Labre. The son of a shopkeeper, he was called to give up everything and follow Christ. He spent his life wandering from church to church in Rome. A nobody. He rarely bathed, never washed his clothes. Some people were repelled by him. But the purity of his devotion and his love of God inspired those who saw him. When he died, at 35, priests of Rome preserved his filthy clothes as relics, and they buried him in one of the churches he loved. Today, he is the patron saint of the homeless, and of those with mental illness. Today’s feast day reminds us, whether we realise it or not: sainthood can be ours. No one is born a saint, but every one of us, by the grace of God, can become one. All holy saints of God – pray for us!

through gates of pearl streams in the countless host!