There can be a temptation in Christian life to reduce our hope in holiness to just “sneaking into” heaven. Or, there can be the temptation to reduce the heavenly banquet to one perpetual and eternal family reunion. While there are reasons why this is done (we were taught not to be too proud, or we need a common example to understand the mystery beyond us) such imageries miss the point of the magnificence of the promise of God.
The Second Vatican Council was strong in its profession that all have a call to holiness. This was a core understanding of Lumen Gentium. What it further went on to suggest was that each person answers this call to holiness in the unique way only they can.
So, in the first reading we see that all, young and old, men and women, are given guidance. To be sure, not all of the descriptors would apply to all of us (I am not sure that Timothy could imagine that not all women would be homemakers) but what is clear is that holiness is expected from everyone.
To this end, while the saints give us tremendous examples of holiness, worhty of imitation, at the same time we are each called to be holy in the way that Jesus has called us to be.
So, it appears to me that this morning we have before us two tasks. The first is to identify which saints lead us to holiness by their example. Which saints speak to us about God’s holiness in a way that seems personal to us? This allows us to see their prayers on our behalf as helps for us to become saints ourselves.
The second task to ask God to help us to identify which qualities, values and virtues we should ask for to aid our quest for holiness. I believe it was Mother Teresa who suggested that sin was wanting something for ourselves that God does not want for us. In that sense, our path to holiness is deeply tied up in that path God has chosen for us, and in our discovery of how God is able to bring out more and more from us if we allow him.