Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
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On this 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Our Divine Savior gives us the two great Commandments: loving God and loving our neighbor, which summarize our religion and which must dominate our life. Though very simply put by Our Lord, we know only too well how we can fall short of both. Just as there is no limit to God’s love for us, likewise, there can be no limit of love on our part. Our determined growth in the spiritual life is that constant struggle of making God, and then others, first, and ourselves last. “What I want” so often gets in the way of true sacrificial love.
Our Catholic understanding of sacrificial love is not bound by this world alone. Surely our love and devotion extends to the saints, most especially Our Blessed Mother, and those with whom we have a fond relationship. They are our powerful helpers in the spiritual struggles of this life. The examples of their faithful lives remind us that we can make it to heaven too. This coming Saturday, November 1, is All Saints Day when we honor all those known as being in the presence of the Lord and those known to Him alone. Because this year the Solemnity falls on a Saturday, the Bishops of the U. S. have determined that it is NOT a holy day of obligation. We shall, of course, have our regularly scheduled 8:00 AM First Saturday Mass in celebration of All Saints.
Our Saturday Vigil Masses and Sunday Masses for next weekend, November 2nd, All Souls Day, will commemorate all the faithful departed. We know that not all the departed go directly to Heaven because these souls need to be purified before they enter Eternal Glory. That purification takes place in Purgatory and these dear ones are very dependent upon our love and prayers. It is the Mass here on earth – the representation of Our Lord’s Sacrifice on the Cross – that purifies and sets souls free in order to enjoy the Vision of God. Sadly, in our day so many souls are waiting and suffering because family members are not having the Mass offered for the release of their loved ones from the suffering of Purgatory. To deprive a deceased family member the benefits of a Funeral Mass and subsequent Masses thereafter is a tragedy and shows a genuine lack of understanding in the all-powerful effects of the Mass. Obviously, it is a terrible crisis of faith.
Funeral Masses and Masses offered for the souls of the faithful departed are an expression of our love and a reliance upon the Mercy of God. How can we not take advantage of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary. We must never forget what the Mass is and the power it conveys beyond what human eyes can see. If want our loved ones to behold the face of God, let us generously give them the saving grace they need through the Sacrifice of the Mass and hope and pray that our survivors will do the same for us when we depart this world.