Pictured: Churchgoers heard a stirring homily from Fr. Raynaldo Yrlas Jr. during the All Saints Day Mass. Photo by MAURICIO JULIAN CUELLAR JR.

Fr. Yrlas explains the example Saints give us

Mauricio Julian Cuellar, Alice Echo-News Journal

Parishioners at all three local Catholic churches celebrated All Saints Day with Mass and prayer.

Saints hold a special place in the Catholic church, though not as idols or as people to worship and pray to, but as examples of the life all Catholics should strive to attain.

Fr. Raynaldo Yrlas Jr. made that clear during his All Saints Day Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on Thursday.

The focus of his homily was on the Beatitudes, given in the Gospel of Mark, Chapter Five. He said the Beatitudes are very much the attitudes of discipleship.

Fr. Yrlas said there is a deep connection between what was taught in the Beatitudes, and what was lived by the saints.

"When we remember the great saints, they lived these beatitudes. They were poor in spirit, they mourn, they were meek, they were humble, they hungered and thirst for righteousness," Yrlas said. "They were merciful, they were clean of heart, they were peacemakers and they were persecuted for the sake of righteousness."

He said their lives were lessons to show others that they would also be able to live according to the Beatitudes.

"It's not always simple, it's not the easiest thing to do, but with prayer all is possible. So we remember those people who were part of history who have attained what we hope to attain, to be sitting at the right hand of the Father also," he said. "To be seated with those who have walked this earth and because of their willingness to die for Christ, have attained that title of Saint."

The time people spend on earth is precious, and something to be enjoyed - this was the message he gave to his parishioners, that life is something to be valued.

And the question he posed is how do we live our life on earth. Do we live it according to how the world wants us to, Yrlas asked, or do we listen to the gospel, so that we might make the same trip they did.

He ended his homily by saying each day is a struggle, each day a challenge, but those struggles and challenges are overcome with the power of prayer, and with the greatest gift to us, he said, the Lord Jesus Christ.

In that way, Yrlas reminded those present that saints are not mystical beings, imbued with God-like powers.

They are everyday people, who struggled during their lives and were honored by the Catholic Church because of their deep love and committed belief in God.