We are heading into the final stretch of the liturgical year with only four more Sundays to go. In the scripture readings selected for these final weeks we hear themes of the end, judgment and salvation with hope in resurrection and eternal life. In today’s First Reading and Responsorial Psalm God is portrayed as a saving God who is attentive to the needs and prayers of the poor and oppressed. In the Second Reading Saint Paul, aware that his life in this world is coming to an end, exudes confidence that God, for whom he has spent himself as a faithful minister of the gospel, will bring him safely through death to the kingdom of heaven. In the Gospel we see that God judges each person according to what is in the heart and not by external appearance. As vegetation falls dormant at this time of year only to come alive again in the spring, so we will one day fall asleep to come to life again in God’s heavenly kingdom provided we are found worthy. Let us not forget that salvation comes at the price of the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This is both the basis of our hope in eternal life and a reminder that we must serve God with sincerity and humility. The gospel is our guide and the sacraments are our strength.
The Solemnity of All Saints on November 1, which is a holy day of obligation, and the Commemoration of All Souls on November 2, which is not a holy day of obligation, give us annually an opportunity to celebrate the communion of saints in its fullness. Mass for the holy day will be celebrated Thursday evening at 8:00 at St. Peter, Friday morning at 8:30 at St. Peter, Friday at 12:10 at St. Charles, and Friday evening at 5:30 at St. Charles. Mass for All Souls’ Day will be celebrated Saturday morning at 8:30 at both churches.
Our membership in the Church, the Mystical Body of the Risen Christ, does not end with death. Therefore the bonds of communion which unite us as fellow members of the Church are not broken by death. In these two days we, the saints on earth (the “Church Militant”) are inspired by the glory of the saints in heaven (the “Church Triumphant”) and we offer prayers and penances for the purification of the saints in purgatory (the “Church Suffering”). The norms for obtaining the All Souls’ Indulgence are found elsewhere in the bulletin. Try to do that this week.
Thanks to all who have responded to Monsignor Hirsch’s appeal for Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II. You may still use the envelopes in the church entryways for this purpose.
This weekend we are also observing World Mission Sunday. This year Pope Francis designated the entire month of October as Extraordinary Mission Month. This year’s theme is, “Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World.” In his message Pope Francis reminds us that the Church’s mission flows from our baptism and that we are all on mission, even here at home, as we witness to Christ by our practice of the faith. Just as necessary is the missio ad gentes (mission to the nations): “Faith in the Easter event of Jesus; the ecclesial mission received in baptism; the geographic and cultural detachment from oneself and one’s own home; the need for salvation from sin and liberation from personal and social evil: all these demand the mission that reaches to the very ends of the earth.” For the Holy Father’s full message go to <w2.vatican.va>, click on “English,” then “Messages,” and then “World Mission Day.” There are envelopes for this collection in your envelope packets and in the pews. We will have a second collection for this purpose next weekend.
Pray the rosary this week for the souls in purgatory. Pray for good weather for the completion of the fall harvest. Pray for those in our community who are homeless, unemployed or needing health care. Pray for missionaries around the world and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.