2 Nov 2013

3rd November 2013 - 31st Sunday in Ordinary time (Year C) - A Reflection on the Holy Souls

On this weeks programme John, Anne and Lorraine reflect on November and the month of the Holy Souls as we enter into what can be a special time of reflection for many people. We have our reflection on this weeks gospel and our usual liturgical odds and ends.

You can listen to this weeks programme podcast HERE.

The Holy Souls

Lorraine and John reflect on November being the month of the Holy Souls during this weeks programme going through how the liturgy can express our belief in the Resurrection and the life to come.

The Church never forgets you. Over the course of the year we will pray for every portion and class of humanity, no matter where or in what difficulty or sorrow. Jesus Christ took on the full burden of human experience in his life and during his passion, and so now his Church too must look to the needs of all its members. In November our concern reaches even beyond earthly shores. We remember those who have gone before us, family and friends, and who now may be going through a time of being purified and made ready for the face-to-face vision of God in the great banquet of Heaven. We call this Purgatory, and the Catholic understanding has always been that we are intimately united with the Holy Souls there, that our communion in faith continues even after death. We can pray for them and they can pray for us.
Souls in Purgatory, or the Holy Souls, are the souls of those who have died in the state of grace but who are not yet free from all punishment due to their unforgiven venial sins and all other sins already forgiven (for which satisfaction is still to be made). They are certain to enter Heaven but must first suffer proportionately in Purgatory. It is the teaching of the Church that these souls are aided by our prayers and good works, and especially by the Sacrifice of the Mass. Though they cannot help themselves, it is commonly believed that they can assist us, and the Church commends our prayers for their intercession.
We must not make purgatory into a flaming concentration camp on the brink of hell—or even a ‘hell for a short time.’ It is blasphemous to think of it as a place where a petty God exacts the last pound—or ounce—of flesh.... St. Catherine of Genoa, a mystic of the 15th century, wrote that the ‘fire’ of purgatory is God’s love ‘burning’ the soul so that, at last, the soul is wholly aflame. It is the pain of wanting to be made totally worthy of One who is seen as infinitely lovable, the pain of desire for union that is now absolutely assured, but not yet fully tasted” (Leonard Foley, O.F.M., Believing in Jesus)

You can listen to this section of the programme excerpted HERE.

More information and prayers available here and here.

Gospel - Luke 19:1-10

"He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man named Zacchae'us; he was a chief tax collector, and rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not, on account of the crowd, because he was small of stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchae'us, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today." So he made haste and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it they all murmured, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." And Zacchae'us stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost."

In the Gospel story, Luke likes to show the mercy of the Master towards sinners and Lk 19: 1-10 is one example. The story of the conversion of Zacchaeus tells us that no human condition is incompatible with salvation: Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham, (Lk 19: 9) says Jesus.

 Sometimes we gloss over well known biblical stories because we think we know the ending. Zachaeus - a tax collector - has sometimes become a cuddly carton character. An article in this weeks Irish Times has a headline 'Go on, Hug a banker' ... Notice the feelings that evokes. Now imagine you're a Jew watching Jesus do just that - hugging a tax collector ...Let us not assume we have learnt all that is to be learnt from scripture - especially from the well-known stories!

Zachaeus is not simply a representation of a certain role - we are all Zachaeus. You and I. Most of us have at one point or another felt judged, caught out, too small or beyond redemption. Many of us have decided to step away rather than risk rejection. Perhaps we can recognise that feeling of looking in (from a safe place), but not really feeling its safe to join in ...

Can you recognise yourself in Zachaeus? Are there parts of your life hidden or held back? Do you hunger to come down from the place of safety and step joyfully into the arms of love? As disciples of Jesus Christ, we often ask ourselves - what would Jesus do? Here we find an answer. Here we are given a lovely example of who we are called to be - we are called to awareness, to kindness, and to hope. Where people experience themselves as truly noticed and engaged with, where they experience kindness and inclusion, they have hope.

Go out, with Jesus, to "seek out and save what was lost.” Not in order to make them like you, but in order that every ones full potential is known and shared.

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Sunday Reflections
Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy
Augustinian Friends

Liturgical odds and ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 3, 31st week in ordinary time

Saints of the Week

November 4th - St Charles Borromeo
also St Lua of Limerick
November 5th - St Magnus of Milan
November 6th - All the Saints of Ireland
November 7th - St Willibrord
November 8th - Bl John Dun Scotus
November 9th - Dedication of the Basilica of the Most Saviour and St John on the Lateran in Rome - Mother and Head of all the churches of the City and the World, the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome.

No comments:

Post a Comment