This Sunday is the thirtieth Sunday in ordinary time. The readings remind us of the overflowing mercy and kindness of a loving and forgiving God for His people. God continues to show His mercy and goodness through the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This Sunday is known as “Priesthood Sunday,” and let us pray for our priests.
The first reading tells us how a compassionate God has been healing the spiritual blindness of His Chosen People by subjecting them to captivity in Babylon and liberating them and bringing them back to their homeland. The second reading presents Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for sins and as the true High Priest of the New Testament. It also gives us the assurance that our High Priest, Jesus, is sympathetic to us because he has shared our human nature. The Gospel explains how Jesus shows the mercy and compassion of his Heavenly Father by healing the blind Bartimaeus. Just as the blind and the lame were God’s concern in the first reading, Jesus is concerned with the blind beggar, Bartimaeus of Jericho. On hearing that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by, Bartimaeus loudly expressed his trusting faith in the healing power of Jesus by shouting his request, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” When Jesus invited him to come near, Bartimaeus threw aside his cloak (symbolizing his fast and sinful life). His meeting with Jesus gave Bartimaeus the gift of spiritual as well as physical sight, and he became a disciple of Jesus. Like Bartimaeus, we should recognize—even in our blind moments—the presence of Jesus.
In the coming week we will celebrate two important events in the Church—All Saints Day on November 1 and All Souls Day on November 2. On the Solemnity of All Saints Day, we celebrate the holy men and women of every time and place, canonized or beatified, who are now in heaven. Some were famous; others lived simpler lives doing God’s work on earth relatively unnoticed. On this day, we remember both those who have been publicly recognized by the Church for their heroic sanctity of life and holiness, and also those countless other brothers and sisters who have faithfully followed Christ in life and have reached the final destiny of their earthly pilgrimage, the Heavenly Jerusalem.
All Saints Day is a Holy Day of Obligation, and we will have two Masses here at Santa Sophia, 8:00 am and 7:00 pm. The children from the academy will proceed into the 8:00 am Mass dressed in their favorite saint’s costume. I invite parents to prepare a saint’s costume for your child for Halloween when they go Trick-or-Treating. This way, you don’t have to buy two different costumes. Dressing your children in a saint’s costume has another advantage as well—you and your family can evangelize as you go around the neighborhood for Trick-or-Treating.
The following day, November 2nd, is All Souls Day. On this occasion, we recall the lives of all of our faithfully departed; but most of all, we recall those who have gone before us in faith during the past year. It is a special day for us to remember and to pray for our dear ones who have gone before us in the eternal reward and are currently in a state of ongoing purification. We pray for our departed brothers and sisters because we share with them the hope that, through God’s all-merciful love, they, body and soul, will be with the Lord on the Last Day and forever. These November traditions—All Saints and All Souls Days—demonstrate our belief in the communion of saints. As Preface for the Dead # 1 in the Roman Missal reads, “With death, life is changed, not ended.” Our Masses and prayers this month voice our hope that Christ will eventually bring all of us home, together.
On All Souls Day we will have two Masses, one in the morning at 8:00 and a special Mass at 6:00 in the evening. At the evening service, we will read the names of all those who have died during the preceding year. This solemn reading of names allows us to remember those who have passed away and to pray for them in a special way. The parish office sent letters to all those families who lost loved ones over the past year, inviting them to the All Souls Mass. However, the Mass is open to all parishioners. I invite you to attend this special Mass on Friday, November 2nd at 6:00 pm. There will be refreshments served in the parish hall immediately following the evening Mass.
We also have a special All Souls Novena of Masses for our deceased loved ones. If you want your loved ones to be on the Novena prayer list, please complete the envelopes for our All Souls Novena of Masses. The envelopes are available on the side tables at all entrances to the church. After you complete the information on the envelope, you may either drop it in the collection basket or return it to the parish office.