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All Souls Day, 02-11-2021

Good morning, dear brothers and sisters, how are you all?

Praying for you all, on this special day.

As we remember  All our Faithful Departed brothers and sisters.

May their soul rest in peace.

Stay safe God bless 🙏 you all.

Have a blessed 🙌 day.

Fr. Sebastian Fernandes OFM Cap

 

Today’s readings and reflection.                    

Reading I

WISDOM 3:1-9

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,

    and no torment shall touch them.

They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;

    and their passing away was thought an affliction

    and their going forth from us, utter destruction.

But they are in peace.

For if before men, indeed, they be punished,

    yet is their hope full of immortality;

chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,

    because God tried them

    and found them worthy of himself.

As gold in the furnace, he proved them,

    and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.

In the time of their visitation they shall shine,

    and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;

they shall judge nations and rule over peoples,

    and the Lord shall be their King forever.

Those who trust in him shall understand truth,

    and the faithful shall abide with him in love:

because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,

    and his care is with his elect.

The Word of the Lord

Responsorial Psalm

 

R.    The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

 

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

    In verdant pastures he gives me repose;

beside restful waters he leads me;

    he refreshes my soul.

R.    The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

He guides me in right paths

    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk in the dark valley

    I fear no evil; for you are at my side

with your rod and your staff

    that give me courage.

R.    The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

You spread the table before me

    in the sight of my foes;

You anoint my head with oil;

    my cup overflows.

R.    The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Only goodness and kindness follow me

    all the days of my life;

and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD

    for years to come.

R.    The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Reading II

ROMANS 6:3-9

Brothers and sisters:

Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus

were baptized into his death?

We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death,

so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead

by the glory of the Father,

we too might live in newness of life.

For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his,

we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.

We know that our old self was crucified with him,

so that our sinful body might be done away with,

that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.

For a dead person has been absolved from sin.

If, then, we have died with Christ,

we believe that we shall also live with him.

We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more;

death no longer has power over him.

The Word of the Lord

 

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Come, you who are blessed by my Father;

inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

JOHN 6:37-40

Jesus said to the crowds:

“Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,

and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,

because I came down from heaven not to do my own will

but the will of the one who sent me.

And this is the will of the one who sent me,

that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,

but that I should raise it on the last day.

For this is the will of my Father,

that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him

may have eternal life,

and I shall raise him on the last day.”

The Gospel of the Lord

Dear brothers and sisters.

As mentioned in the reading from the Book of Wisdom, those who have died are truly in the hands of GOD.  The readings remind us that GOD wants the best for us and will provide more than we can ever imagine.  Isaiah speaks of a time when every tear will be wiped away.  The familiar Psalm 23 proclaims GOD’s protection and providence.  St. Paul tells the faith-full people of Rome that GOD has always loved us (even when we sin) and that through baptism we share in both the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  In the Gospel, Jesus promises to raise up all those who believe in Him.

The passage from Wisdom was written about a century before the coming of Jesus, during a time when some of the Jewish people were developing the concepts of life after death.  It is part of the Catholic listing of books of Old Testament but is not in all Protestant Old Testament.  It speaks about the hope for those who have died and their being in the hands of GOD.

Isaiah  bolsters the faith of the Chosen People who are struggling from oppression and war.  Isaiah wants to reassure them that GOD will eventually provide for them in such a way that there will be no more mourning or sorrow.  GOD will come to the people and save them from their persecutors.

The often quoted Psalm 23 brings comfort not only to the people at the time of psalmist, but also for the people of the millennia since then.  GOD is pictured as a loving Shepherd who leads the wayward flock to safety.  GOD will win a victory for the Chosen People and provide a victory feast which surpasses any before it.  The cup of joy and happiness will be overflowing.  Only the best will be given to those who have followed the lead of the Divine Shepherd.

In the fifth chapter of his Letter to the Romans Roman 5: 5-11, St. Paul reminds his readers (including us), that if GOD has gone so far as to send Jesus down to earth, to live as a human, to teach, suffer, and die for us, while we are still sinners (enemies of GOD), then GOD is showing how much we are loved and how much GOD wants us to be in heaven with the Lord Jesus.  This message is repeated in the Gospel of John 6: 37-40.

The sixth chapter of St.  Paul’s Letter to the Romans has comforting words to those who are going through rough times.  Paul emphasizes very strongly that if we are truly “plunged” (baptized) into Christ, we share in His sufferings and death.  Death is part of our existence as mortals.  The GOoD News is that if, we have been willing to share in Jesus’ suffering and death, then we will also share in His resurrection.

In the Gospel, Jesus proclaims that He has come to do the will of His Abba-Father.  Part of the will of GOD includes His raising up all who believe in Him and share in His life (death, and resurrection).

With all this in mind, we turn to today’s celebration – All Souls (All the Faithful Departed).  Today we show our union with those who have died and are making the transition to the fullness of GOD’s presence.  Our prayers and love (both of which are gifts originating in GOD) are part of what unites us with our loved ones on the final steps of their journey to the home of our Lord Jesus and His Abba-Father.  Also it is important for us to realize that after death, the time-space constraints we experience on earth are gone.  What seems like a thousand years to us on earth is only a brief “moment” for those who are no longer bound by time-space barriers but are beginning to live eternally.

I know there have been times when I have sensed the presence of my departed mother and father.  It is not a negative feeling at all, but rather a warm, positive feeling.  I know that they are with the Lord Jesus and also near me.  We are still united in the communion of saints – GOD’s holy ones on both sides of the event we call death.  And the bond of our union is love – the love of GOD – love which is GOD in the fullness of divinity.

Death, then, is a transition from earthly life to eternal life.  Part of that transition is a realization of what our life has been, and recognition of the times when we have not always matched up to the plan of GOD.  In that transition known as death, GOD’s love purifies (purges) us so that we can enjoy the fullness of the eternal life which Jesus has gained for us through His death and resurrection.  Death can be scary, particularly as we realize our own imperfections.  Yet, the belief we have as imperfect (but striving to be faithful) disciples of the Lord Jesus, is that Jesus’ obedience to the will of His Abba has raised us up and opened to us the fullness of eternal life.  For those who have refused to acknowledge the life which Jesus offered to them, death is not a joyful transition to eternal life, but a sorrowful movement to eternal separation from the GOD Whom they have chosen not to accept or with Whom they have wanted no relationship.

As mentioned before, for those who are united in the love of GOD, there is a connection between those still on earth and those who are “transitioning” or who have “transitioned” to the eternal life in heaven.  The bond which unites the faithful on both sides of the event known as death is the Love which/Whom we know as GOD.  Since Jesus, the GOD-man, has lived on both sides of death and has gone through the death-experience, He is able to unite people on both sides of death.  His resurrection is the way through which He intends us all to travel so that we can know, not just mentally, but experientially, the risen life that He shares with His Abba.

I think one of the things that is comforting as I reflect on the readings and this celebration of our union with those who had gone before us in the peace of the Risen Lord is the last words of today’s psalm.  Changing the words slightly to reflect our common bonds, we can pray the words, “Only GOoDness and kindness follow us all the days of our lives; and we shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come.”

The personal question/action for today:

When I think of those who have preceded me in making the transition from earthly life to eternal life, what thoughts and feelings come to me?

Do I sense that there exist a bond of love between us, made possible by the One Who is Love?

Am I strengthened by the hope of the eternal life that is offered me through the death and resurrection of Jesus?

How can I reassure others of what awaits those who are in union with the Lord Jesus and His Abba?

Let us pray

Blessed are You, LORD, GOD and giver of life, both earthly and heavenly.  Through Your Goodness, You have loved us into earthly existence and into eternity.  You desire that nothing, even sin and death, should come between You and us, if we seek to be one with You.  You want us to be united with all those who claim You as GOD, both those still struggling with burdens in this life, and those who have made the transition to the eternal life with You in heaven.  May we always be reminded of those who have lovingly touched our lives while we and they were here on earth.  May one day we be united with them as we celebrate with our Risen Lord, Your Son, Jesus.  It is He Who has promised us eternal rest in Your house.  And it is in Jesus’ name we lift this prayer of praise and unity, for He has died, but is risen, and is living and reigning with You and Your Holy Spirit, our one and only GOD, for ever and ever.  Amen.

🙏

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