Fr. Mark brought a pumpkin (or Jack o' Lantern) to Mass today as we celebrated All Saints Day. He asked how many of us had seen one and, of course, all of us had.
Fr. Mark reminded us that the first thing we do when making a Jack o' Lantern is to clean up the pumpkin by washing off the dirt and mud. Then we cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin and clean out the inside. We scoop out all the seeds and the yucky stuff.
The next thing we do is carve a face: we cut out the eyes, nose, and mouth. Fr. Mark said, "I don't know about you, but I always like to put a smile on my Jack o' Lantern." The next step is to put a candle inside the Jack o' Lantern, then we light the candle so that the light will shine through the eyes, nose, and mouth. Finally, when all is finished, we place the Jack o' Lantern somewhere so that all who pass by the house will see its light.
Fr. Mark then suggested that this whole carving routine is a pretty good picture of what happens when we invite Jesus into our heart. When He calls us to become a Christian, Jesus picks us up and cleanses our life from sin. We call that Baptism. He removes all the yucky thoughts and the seeds of doubt, hate, and selfishness that we have inside. We call this Reconciliation. Then Jesus puts a smile on our face (each day, by His grace) and puts His light inside us (the rest of the Sacraments) to shine for all the world to see.
The Saints whom we celebrated today are all of those people who, without being "officially" counted among the Saints of the Church, have nonetheless embraced the One who came to take away the sins of the world, followed Him with their whole heart, mind, and soul, and allowed Him to put His light in their hearts for the whole word to see.
Part of our prayer today was: "Dear Jesus, help us to let your light shine in us so that others will see our good works and glorify our heavenly Father.".