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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thirty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time

November 1, 2009 - Feast of All Saints

The gray November days of a post-peak foliage world set a reflective mood for a month that is bracketed by All Saints Day and Thanksgiving holiday. Amid the diminishing daylight and the sleep cycle in the rhythm of life, we often take stock of those people and events in our life that are deeply meaningful to us. All Saints Day, which we celebrate today, is a day to remember that we belong to a very large community that is comprised of both the living and our ancestors in the faith, especially those whose faithful witness have inspired us in a quiet, yet profoundly personal way. Though they will never be listed as saints in our Christian calendar, we remember the heroic qualities that give significant meaning to the way they lived their lives.

The Book of Revelation dramatically portrays a gathering of saints from all nations, races, people and languages who have persevered faithfully through the many challenges that life gave them. Robed in white, they wave palm branches and sing joyfully to God for the gift of salvation. They intercede for the living because we are like them in that we are “the people that longs to see your face” (Psalm 24.) The second reading from John encourages us to remember that we are destined to a remarkable future as we will see God and live in revelation’s fullness as we are God’s beloved children. With God working through us, we will continue to be recreated in the divine image.

The Beatitudes sum up our vocation: we are to be saintly people in imitation of Jesus. Foremost, we are to place our hope and trust in God, as the saints have done, knowing that God’s grace will be able to provide for us in our distress or needs and that we shall live a blessed life because God will wash us clean and fill us with radiance no matter what challenges we face on earth. We are not perfect, nor are our beloved dead, but we do have an army of heavenly witnesses who surround us with their love so our lives can be more clearly directed to our final reunion with them and with God. Saints in heaven, pray for us.

Quote for the Week

I attach the Solemn Blessing at the end of the Mass that commemorates All Saints Day.

God is the glory and joy of all his saints, whose memory we celebrate today. May his blessing be with you always. Amen.

May the prayers of the saints deliver you from present evil. May their example of holy living turn your thoughts to service of God and neighbor. Amen.

God’s holy Church rejoices that her children are one with the saints in lasting peace. May you come to share with them in all the joys of our Father’s house. Amen.

May almighty God bless you, the Father, + and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

Romans reminds us that we belong to one another through Christ so we ought to use our gifts to build up the community and to let our way of life be worthy of the calling we have received. The only thing we owe one another is to let our love be sincere and to let our love for others mirror the way we love ourselves. We no longer live for ourselves, but Christ lives in us and we belong to him, the Lord of the living and the dead. Paul reminds us that he speaks boldly because he is fulfilling the task of opening the faith to Gentiles and that his boasting is of the proclamation of the Gospel, not his own successes.

Jesus continues, in Luke, to tell of the Kingdom of God. We describes it as a dinner invitation where many are invited and yet there are still not enough to fill the house. He says that we are to approach our preparation for this Kingdom in the way we would wisely calculate the dimensions of building a complex tower. Jesus reminds the Pharisees that many are invited, including the tax collectors and sinners, and that a good shepherd would leave the 99 in search of the one stray to bring him back into the fold. Again, Jesus reminds us that we are to be prudent stewards whose wise worldly ways are to be used in our preparation for the next life, much like a clever banker would make an investment off a promissory note. Our loyalty cannot be divided. We are to choose whether we love money or God. We will demonstrate our loyalty if we are trustworthy in small matters and if so, we will be given greater responsibility.

Saints of the Week

Monday is All Souls Day, a day that has been reserved since the time of the early Church to pray for the faithful departed. This day follows the Feast of All Saints, which is celebrated on November 1st. Religious communities and monasteries typically pray for its deceased members and benefactors throughout the month until the beginning of Advent. By doing so, we keep alive the memory of our loved ones and are able to express our affection to them for the ways they have touched our lives.

On Tuesday, we honor Martin de Porres who was born in Lima, Peru in a mixed marriage between a Spanish knight and an Indian woman. This mixed ancestry relegated him to a lower stature in society. He entered the Dominican order as a youth and became known for his care of the sick and the poor. He taught many about the challenges of dealing with racial tensions, poverty, and care for the marginalized.

Charles Borromeo is celebrated on Wednesday for his role as bishop of Milan where he reformed his diocese according to the dictates of the Council of Trent. As an aristocrat, he also served as Papal Secretary of State. Borromeo received great respect from his diocese when he led efforts to care for the sick and bury the dead during a widespread epidemic in 1576.

This Week in Jesuit History

• Nov 1, 1956. The Society of Jesus was allowed in Norway.
• Nov 2, 1661. Daniel Seghers, a famous painter of insects and flowers, died.
• Nov 3, 1614. Dutch pirates failed to capture the vessel in which the right arm of Francis Xavier was being brought to Rome.
• Nov 4, 1768. On the feast of St Charles, patron of Charles III, King of Spain, the people of Madrid asked for the recall of the Jesuits who had been banished from Spain nineteen months earlier. Irritated by this demand, the king drove the Archbishop of Toledo and his Vicar General into exile as instigators of the movement.
• Nov 5, 1660. The death of Alexandre de Rhodes, a native of France who was one of the most effective Jesuit missionaries of all time, arrived in Vietnam in 1625.
• Nov 6, 1789. Fr John Carroll of Maryland was appointed to be the first Bishop of Baltimore.
• Nov 7, 1717. The death of Antonio Baldinucci, an itinerant preacher to the inhabitants of the Italian countryside near Rome.

Prayers for your Beloved Dead

From the earliest days of the Church, prayers have been offered for the souls of the faithful departed that they may now find themselves in the presence of God and rejoice in the eternal joy which has been promised to the righteous by Jesus Christ. Since the Eleventh Century, the Church has set aside a day in its liturgical calendar to pray for these souls - November 2nd, the Feast of All Souls.

During the month of November, at each Mass that we celebrate, the Jesuits will remember all your friends and family members who have died. It is our Christian prayer that they are now enjoying the fullness of Christ's words: "You, who are blessed by my Father, come. Come and receive the Kingdom which has been prepared for you even since the creation of the world."

I invite you to send us the names of your beloved departed either by sending an email to predmoresj@yahoo.com or adding your names to the comment section so others will pray for them as well.

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