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November 02. All The Faithful Departed

Mass Readings + homily notes for special feasts and memorials

Material already online at the Association of Catholic Priests website
(edited by Fr. Pat Rogers)

For full range of memorials
click here


 

1st Reading: Isaiah 25:6-9

A vision of hope for the future, when God will restore his people to happiness

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever.

Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.

It will be said on that day, 'Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.'

Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30

Jesus tells us of the Father's gracious presence

At that time Jesus said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Bible


Loved into Eternity

"See what love the Father has bestowed on us." The Halloween combinatrion of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, reminds us of the reality of death and life after death. These days are a sad reminder that our bodies will one day give out. Somewhere, sometime, sooner or later, we will experience the startling reality of death. Then what? Is it all over for the individual? Nothing but extinction, absolute silence, darkness? Will there be no more love, no more joy, no more laughter?

Jesus says there is a future. He walked through the doors of suffering and a violent death to come back and say there is light, there is love and laughter and rejoicing, there is a life beyond your dreams and imagination. Jesus offers hope for those who strike out when they come to bat in this life. What does this feast ask of us? Be grateful for what you have. Show your appreciation. How? See the love that is there. See what love the Father has bestowed on us!

Why do we pray for the Dead? It's based on the kind of belief and hope taught by Jesus himself. He once said: "All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out." Today the Church is asking us to pray in a special way for all the deceased, for all those whom we knew, but also for all those who died without the news of their disappearance ever being communicated to us.

Whereas we know only a minute part of this multitude of people who died since the creation of the world, our creator-God knows them all, and each one in their individuality. God knows all things: he knows what we are doing now because he watches us, he listens to us, he waits for us to turn to him with the simplicity of a child who confides in his Father full of love and tenderness! "And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day."

Jesus could not lose those who are given to him and who are guarded by his Holy Spirit! If during our life on earth, a man or woman remains firmly united to Christ by faith, hope, and charity, how could it happen that Jesus would lose him or her - If as Christians we remains faithful to the Spirit who stays in ua, then Jesus will raise ua up at the last day!


Prayerful remembering

Today we are remembering those we have known and loved -- family members and good friends. Indeed, the whole month of November is a time when we remember our dead in a special way. As Christians, our remembering of those who have died is always a prayerful remembering. We remember them before the Lord. Remembering our departed loved ones before the Lord, praying for them, is one of the ways we give expression to our ongoing communion with them in the Lord. We believe that they are with the Lord, and that the Lord is also with us in this life. It is that shared relationship with the Lord which keeps us in communion with our loved ones who have died. In praying for our loved one, we ask the Lord to bring them to the fullness of life, as he brought the widow's son to life in today's gospel. We also pray in thanksgiving for them, thanking God for the gift of their lives and for all the ways the Lord blessed us through them. Today, we entrust our loved ones who have died to God. As "God's love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us," we pray that they would experience that love to the full.