ALL SAINTS DAY CATHOLIC FEAST

 

ALL SAINTS DAY NOVEMBER 1

We have two major feasts this week in our Church which reminds us of what we profess in the Apostles Creed. as a dogma of our Faith. “I believe in the Holy Spirit. the holy Catholic Church, the Communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

We too are part of that “Communion of Saints.” We are “the pilgrim Church” on earth still making our way back home, striving to become saints. We are sometimes called the “Church Militant,” because we continue to struggle with the world, the flesh and the devil.

Another part of the Communion of Saints are the holy souls in purgatory, not yet purified and perfected, but will one day enter heaven. We believe that God in his mercy purifies them and purges them of their sins and their effects so they may worthily enter into the presence of the all Holy God.

This purgation of sins and its effects is the reason we call the souls in Purgatory, the Church Suffering. It is painful in Purgatory just as it is here on earth when God breaks us from our addictions and willfulness. The souls in Purgatory also suffer because they are separated from full communion with God.

The Particular feast that calls attention to their plight is the Feast of All Souls celebrated on November 2. Souls in purgatory cannot pray for themselves but can pray for us. So it is extremely important to pray for them that they soon may be purified and perfected. They pray for us now and will intercede for us when they get to heaven.

Finally, there is a group of saints already in heaven, already experiencing the Beatific Vision. All Saints day, a Holy Day of obligation in many parts of the world, is celebrated on November 1. We call these saints, the “Church Triumphant.” The communion of saints is truly God’s family. This should give us great encouragement. We are vast in numbers, too many to comprehend.

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and sin… let us run the race, before us, with perseverance, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith who for the joy, set before Him, endured the cross, and is seated at the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

ALL SAINTS DAY
All Saints Day is an opportunity to give thanks for all those who have gone before us in the faith. It is a time to celebrate our history. From the early days of Christianity, there is a sense that the Church consists of not only all living believers, but also all who have gone before us.
On All Saints Day we remember all those—famous or obscure—who are part of the “communion of saints Canonized Saints in heaven, souls in purgatory destined for heaven, and living saints among us. Retelling the stories of saints grounds us in our history. These memories teach us how God has provided for us through the generosity and sacrifice of those who have come before us. The stories of the saints encourage us to be all God has created us to be. Pray to the saints in heaven and purgatory to intercede for us.

Living saints among us could be our own family members. It could be that special family member that prays for all the other members. It could be a family member that not only taught us the faith but lived and modeled the faith, we practice today. On All Saints Day, let us give thanks for both the saints in glory and those on earth, who have led us to Jesus.  Nobody is born a saint. It’s something you have to become. It is not easy but then is anything worthwhile easy.
Those saints in heaven were just like us in so many ways. Read their stories if you don’t believe me. They were people of appetites and longings, ambitions and disappointments, vanities and eccentricities.

They were sinners just like the rest of us. They struggled with sin and temptation, they’ve walked the journey toward holiness, sometimes stumbling, sometimes falling, but always getting back up and moving on, resolving to do better, to be better, to aim higher.

Who is a saint? A saint is blessed. Where do we find those blessings in Scripture? In Matthew 5, of course. Saints worked hard to become what Jesus called them to be in the Sermon on the Mount: To be poor in spirit. To be meek. To be merciful. To make peace. This is how we begin to become what Jesus called “blessed,” and what the Church calls saints. It’s a tall order. And it is nothing less than a call to greatness.

In truth, blessed par excellence is only found in Jesus. Indeed Jesus was truly poor in spirit, the afflicted one, the meek one, the one hungering and thirsting for justice, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemaker, and the one persecuted for the sake of justice.

We too, can participate in this blessedness in the measure we accept Jesus and follow him, everyone according to their own state in life. With Jesus the impossible becomes possible. Remember his apostles asking Jesus who then can be saved and Jesus’ reply, “Jesus replied, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”(Matthew 19:26). With Jesus’ help, only with His help, we are able to become “perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

Holiness demands a constant effort but it is possible for all since it is not just the work of man but is above all a gift of God. In our life all is a gift of his love. How is it possible to not respond to the love of the heavenly Father by leading a life of grateful children?

Perhaps, this week look up in book or on the internet a saint to reflect on, pray to intercede for you for some special grace that will bring you into closer relationship with Our Lord. One other suggestion, you may thank a living “saint” for being a model and inspiration for you and also thank God for putting that person in your life!

CLOSING PRAYER
Lord God, you are glorified in your saints. In their lives on earth, you give us an example. In our communion with them, you give us their friendship. Around your throne, the saints, our brothers and sisters, sing your praises forever. With their great company and all the angels in heaven, we, too, praise your glory, now and forever. Amen.
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JOY OF THE GOSPEL REFLECTIONS

APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION EVANGELII GAUDIUM

NOTE: The number before paragraphs in Joy of Gospel references indicate the paragraph number in actual document.

POPE FRANCIS INVITES US INTO THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL
“The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. I invite all Christians everywhere at this very moment to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her since no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.”

 

“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold,

I bring you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10

REFLECTION
Pope Francis makes clear that God always takes the intiative in seeking his lost sheep by any means necessary. No one is excluded or left behind. God knows our need for Him and His nourishment. So we too as disciples and missionaries must not dismiss anyone or judge anyone unworthy of our engagement.

JOY OF THE GOSPEL
180 Jesus’ mission is to inaugurate the kingdom of his Father; he commands his disciples to proclaim the good news that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand ” Matthew. 10:7

24 “The life of the Church should always reveal clearly that God takes the initiative, that he has loved us first.”We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19. The Joy of the Gospel is for all people no one can be excluded. People are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us, “Give them something to eat”. Mark 6:37″

92 “We must not avoid others or exclude anyone from our mission. We are all in same boat and headed to same port. Let us ask for the grace to rejoice in gifts of each, which belong to all.”

113 “No one is saved by himself or herself, individually or by his or her own efforts. Jesus did not tell the apostles to form an exclusive and elite group. He told them to go and make disciples of all nations.” Mt.28:19

REFLECTION
Pope Francis warns us there are many enemies and obstacles to living the Gospel and spreading the Good News to others. To be on our guard and prepare for the spiritual warfare we encounter daily with the world, the flesh, and the devil. We live in parallel universe this temporal world and a spirit filled eternity.

JOY OF THE GOSPEL
64 “We are living in an information driven society which bombards us indiscriminately with data all treated as being of equal importance and which leads to remarkable superficiality in the area of moral discernment.”

263 “Every period of history is marked by the presence of human weakness, self-absorption, complacency and selfishness, to say nothing of the concupiscence which preys upon us all.”

79 “Pastoral workers often fall prey to the times. Some fall into pastoral acedia or spiritual torpor (lethargy) by taking on unreasonable projects instead of what they reasonably can accomplish. Others just because they just can’t wait, patience is not a virtue in this society of instant gratification.”

 

REFLECTION
Pope Francis makes suggestions on how preachers and evangelists should prepare for their missions. You cannot give what you yourself don’t possess. Read the bible, pray over the Bible, ask yourselves what God is saying to me today and how do I respond today!

JOY OF THE GOSPEL
145 “Preparation for preaching needs a prolonged time for preparation, a time for study, prayer, and reflection. Whoever wants to preach must first let the Word of God move him deeply and become incarnate in his daily life. One will then be communicating to others what one has contemplated and prayed about.

150 To evangelize is to make the kingdom of God present in our world. “Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew. 6:33 Preparation requires the Love of God and like every true disciple say, “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.” I Sam. 3:9

164 First and foremost on lips of catechists is the proclamation, “Jesus Christ loves you, he gave his life to save you and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you.”

 

REFLECTION
Pope Francis reiterates Jesus’ love for the poor and most vulnerable and how in imitation of Jesus as disciples we are to make the vulnerable our priority in our ministry. Jesus loved the poor and performed many miracles of physical and spiritual healing. No one was too far gone in Jesus’ eyes to walk away. He engaged everyone, bolstered their faith and encouraged them to repent and sin no more

JOY OF THE GOSPEL
197 God’s heart has a special place for the poor so much so that he himself became poor, born in a manger in the midst of animals. When he began to preach the kingdom, crowds of the dispossessed followed him.

198 Inspired by this life of Christ, the Church has always understood a special form of primacy of the poor in exercise of Christian Charity. The poor have much to share with us. They know the sufferings of Christ. We need to let ourselves be evangelized by them. We are called to find Christ in them and to lend our voices to their causes.

213 Jesus identifies especially with the little ones, the vulnerable. As Christians we are called to care for the vulnerable of the earth. Among the vulnerable to whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us.

213 Defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable in any situation and in every stage of development. Every violation of the personal dignity is an offense against the creator of that individual.

 

REFLECTION
Pope Francis encourages us not to shy away from our mission because of difficulties. He preaches that hope will bring about the desired changes even if we ourselves do not see the results.

JOY OF THE GOSPEL
275 Some people do not commit themselves to mission because they think that nothing will change and that it is useless to make the effort. If we think things are never going to change we need to recall that Jesus Christ has triumphed over sin and death. A true missionary knows that Jesus walks with him, speaks to him, breathes wih him, and works with him. A person, who is not convinced, enthusiastic, certain, and in love will convince nobody.

278 Let us believe the Gospel when it tells us that the kingdom of God is already present in this world and is growing here and there and in different ways like “the small seed which grows into the great tree.” (Mt. 13:31) and like the “good seed that grows amid the weeds.” (Mt. 13:24) and can always pleasantly surprise us. Jesus did not rise in vain.

279 Let us be assured that none of our acts of love will be lost nor any of our acts of sincere concern for others. Sometimes it seems our acts are fruitless but don’t believe it. None will be lost; no effort is meaningless; no painful endurance is wasted. All of these encircle our world like a vital force giving life according to God’s holy will. The Holy Spirit works His will where He wills, even across the globe.

GOOD NEWS, BELIEVE!
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