Reflection on the Daily Readings for 11/02/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Two homiletic reflections: All Souls Day, Nov. 2 Lectionary #668 and 31
Monday in Ordinary Time Lectionary # 485.
Scripture reflection for All Souls. Since there are many texts for this
day, the reflection is upon the theme itself.
Our last days of October and the first two days of November turn our
thoughts to those who have journed before us in the long history of
salvation that weaves into unnoticeably into secular history and that shows
God’s subtle touch of wisdom and humor. These days with lengthening
shadows in some parts of our world and that take place in the ethereal
season of autumn lend to our deepest and fondest memories of the holy ones
who have gone before us in the light of faith and are now in the Kingdom of
God seeing God. The canonized holy ones are often referred to as saints
(some say with a capital letter) and our departed loved ones who lived
their faith equally well with many of the former are also remembered on the
feast of All Saints. The ones whom we knew as friends, colleagues,
relatives, parents, etc. have now entered into the mystery of God’s eternal
love and they are now eternally at peace–even those whom we say are “in
purgatory.” Both the canoncial saints and the faithful departed have
helped us in our own journey of faith; some even have held our hand and
showed us the way toward God.
Remembering them is a part of our virtue of hope received at Baptism.
Trusting in God’s love for them we now can recall their good deeds on this
day and keep our hearts burning with love for them. Vatican II in the
Constitution on the Church called a “Light for the Nations” (Lumen Gentium)
prompts us to extend what is said of the Saints (capital S) to those who
have been among our faithful departed ones. They have already passed
through purgatory and are in the presence of God. Many of us actually pray
to those who were among our loved ones: brothers, sisters, mothers and
fathers. We often get inspiration from them even in some of our God-given
talents. Here is the important paragraph from Vatican II: “In the lives of
those companions of ours who are more perfectly transformed into the image
of Christ (“It is given to us, all alike, to catch the glory of the Lord as
in a mirror, with faces unveiled; and so we become transfigured into the
same likeness, borrowing glory from that glory, as the spirit of the Lord
enables us.” Msgr. Ronald Knox translation). God shows vividly to humanity
his presence and his face. He speak to us in them and offers us a sign of
his Kingdom, to which we are powerfully attracted, so great a cloud of
witnesses are we given and such an affirmation of the truth of the
Gospel…Our communion with the saints joins us to Christ from whom as from
its fountain and head flow all grace and life of the people of God itself.
(“Why then, since we are watched from above by such a cloud of witnesses,
let us rid ourselves of all that weighs us down. of the sinful habit that
clings so closely, and run with all enduriance, the race for which we are
entered.” Hebrews 12:1, Knox). Lumen Gentium # 50.
Thus both the feast of All Saints and All Souls are to be our celebration
of the hope, trust, and remembrance of those whom we love and those who
have inspired us to keep on the journey toward God and to stay with them in
the race toward the Kingdom. Amen.
Scripture: Lectionary 485: Romans 11:29-36. Psalm 69:30-31.33-34.36-37.
Jesus looks to the resurrection of the just while Paul prays ardently about
the mercy of God toward all peoples. Behind his prayers is the word that
captures this mercy, love, and compassion of God. It is the Hebrew word
“Chesed” and is always central to the covenants God has made with us. Paul
is praying with the thought of Chesed in his heart as he ends the great
chapters of nine through eleven in his epistle to the Romans. This
brilliant prayer shows his concern for both the Jewish and the Gentile
peoples. We learn from this prayer that God’s mercy endures forever and is
given to every righteous person and even more generously to the sinners for
whom God has great patience and love. God is love and God’s wisdom about us
is infinitely beyond our thinking and imagination. His wisdom is
inscrutable as Paul knows so well. Paul goes on to say that even those who
were disobedient and had not listened to the voice within them and to God’s
words, that they,too, are showered with the love of God and God’s
Jesus words and his parable to the one who invited him tells of the need
for the guests to have a humble and generous heart when accepting their
invitation. Hospitality is to be offered as true service without the ones
invited neglecting their courteous and sensitive propriety as to what is
expected by the host. This is a good section of Scripture for the theme of
hospitality. For practical purposes today it could mean that when we
receive an invitation (an R.S.V. P.) we should answer it!
Finally, the ending of this great section of Paul’s letter is our prayer
for the day: “How deep is the mine of God’s wisdom, of his knowledge; how
inscrutable are his judgments, how undiscoverable his ways! Who has ever
understood the Lord’s thoughts, or been his counsellor? Who ever was the
first to give, and so earned his favours? All things find in him their
origin, their impules, the centre of their being; to him be glory
throughout all ages. Amen. (Romans 11:34-36).