All Souls – November 2nd

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All Souls – November 2nd

Readings: Wis 3:1-9; Rom 5:5-11; Jn 6:37-40.

1/ Reading 1 (Wis 3:1-9):

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble.
they shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the LORD shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

2/ Reading II (Rom 5:5-11):

KJV Romans 5:5 And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

3/ Gospel (Jn 6:37-40):

Jesus said to the crowds:
“Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.”

Written by: Fr. Anthony Tien M. Dinh, OP.

I. THEME: Face the death to learn how to live.

            It is not accidental the Church reminds all the faithful that November is the month of all souls and invites us to meditate about the rapid passing of life and the death. Looking out of a window, we recognize right away the change of weather: green leaves have changed to yellow, some already felt from trees, been torn down by cars’ tires or flown away by wind. Entering a car which was bought new some years ago, now became old, was repaired so many times, and then it will be ended up in a cars’ junk yard.

            Looking into our own body, it used to be a young, firm, healthy, quick to move for some years ago; now was completely changed: black hairs turned to silver, skins to tortoise shell; the whole body must be warmed up every morning before it can stand up and move around; our health will be gradually decreased until a day, people will carry us to a cemetery. Is our life also such meaningless as leaves or a car? If not, what is the purpose of our life and how could we reach that purpose?           

            Today readings provide us many important things to meditate about. In the Gospel, the Son of God himself clearly revealed to us what is the purpose of life and how could we reach that goal end. The first reading showed us the fates of two lives: of the righteous and of the unbelief. The second reading explained the main point of Pauline theology: all people have sinned and deserved death; but out of God’s immense love, He gave people His Only Son to redeem us from sins. His blood took away death and purchase for us the eternal life.


1/ Reading I: Two different beliefs lead to two ways of life.

            Depending on what people believed, they will live according to it and must endure its result. People must know what they live their life for, before they can decide how-to live-in order to reach that goal.


1.1/ The belief and the way of life of the righteous: They believe:

            (1) Death is not the end, but the beginning of the eternal life with God. This belief is based on Isaiah’s prophecy: “He (God) will destroy on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever” (Isa 25:7-8a).

            (2) Death is the end of human suffering and the beginning of eternal happiness: Isaiah continued: “The Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, that He might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation”” (Isa 25:8b-9).

            (3) The meaning of all sufferings in our life is to show our faith and love for God: Since “having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the furnace, he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them.”

            (4) The reward of the righteous: “In the time of their visitation they will shine forth and will run like sparks through the stubble. They will govern nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord will reign over them forever.”

            (5) The Righteous’s way of life: If they shared their sufferings with God in this life, they will also share His glory in the life to come. The author of the Book of Wisdom declared: “Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his elect, and he watches over his holy ones.”

1.2/ The belief and the way of life of the unbelief: They believe:

            (1) Death is the end: To them, there is no resurrection, nor the eternal life. There is no need to pray for the death.

            (2) Death is the most painful of their life: Death ends everything. When death comes, they can no longer enjoy anything in life; therefore, must avoid death at all costs.

            (3) Sufferings of life is meaningless. They need to avoid all sufferings.

            (4) The reward of the unbelief: To them, there is no reward or punishment in the next life. All they have are in this life.

            (5) The belief and the way of life of the unbelief: How long they live in this life, they must find all possible ways to enjoy life and to be happy in this world.

2/ Reading II: Why are people not dead forever?


2.1/ Everyone has sinned; therefore, all must be dead: The law which God gave to the Israelites can be liken as the two-edges knife. It can give life to people if they live according to the law, or if can lead people to death if they violate it, even only one time, as Moses said to them:

“See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you this day, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you this day, that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land which you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you: life and death, blessing and curse; therefore, choose life, that you and your descendants may live” (Dt 30:15-19).

            But no one in this life can claim that he never commits any sin. Therefore, all must be dead because all have sinned against Him.

2.2/ Why are people not dead forever?

            (1) God looks over people’s sins: The Jews and the Muslims believe this because they don’t believe Christ. Such faith, though highly esteems God’s mercy, but gravely despises God’s justice. Do God’s words through Moses have any true effect? Why doesn’t God forgive devils’ sins too?

            (2) God’s plan of salvation: To protect both God’s mercy and justice, one needs to believe in His plan of salvation. According to His plan, the followings must be happened:

            – Christ, the Son of God, agreed to die in the place of humankind: St. Paul explained this fact: “While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man — though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were, yet sinners Christ died for us.”

            – Christ reconciled people with God: “Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.”

            – People can have the eternal life: When people believe in Jesus, they are justified by Christ; as a result, “now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”


3/ Gospel: The only way to achieve the eternal life

            The most important revelations of God were revealed in five verses of today Gospel (Jn 6:35-40).

3.1/ Christ is the Bread of Life: Jesus said to them: ” I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.” The sacrament of the Eucharist is the divine food that gives life (zoê) to people when they still live in this life. John used the same word “life” (zoê) to indicate the divine life or the eternal life. Once people were tasted the Bread of Life, the eternal life belongs to them.

3.2/ The required condition to reach the eternal life: When people stand before Christ, they can have two attitudes; and depending on their attitudes, they will receive the eternal life or be destroyed forever.

            (1) Believe in Christ: There is no other places in Scripture that reveal clearly God’s will than today passage of John’s Gospel. Jesus repeated twice his Father’s will:

            – “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me but raise it up at the last day.”

            – “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

            (2) Don’t believe in Christ: “But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.” Whoever doesn’t believe in Christ when one faced him, that one cannot have the eternal life.


III. APPLICATIONS IN LIFE:                    

             – We must know for sure what do we live this life for, before we decide how to live our life. The purpose of life is to inherit the eternal life from God. In order to reach this goal, we must firmly believe in Christ and practice his teachings.

            – Practice what we believed. Don’t believe in one thing and live according to other things. The danger for those who want to enjoy both this life and the life to come, is that they could lose both.

            – What should we do for our beloved death? They are parts of our life; without them, we cannot be as we are now. We need to pray for them, especially through Mass’ intentions, and to do good deeds so that God could lessen their punishments.

            – To love the souls is to love ourselves, because when they finish their purification, they will joint with all the saints in heaven, and they will intercede for us when it is our time to be purified. We hope that we will see them again and live happily with them forever in heaven.

            – The Church is in communication: We have three different communities in the Church, they are: the glorious church in heaven which is all the saints; the suffering church in purgatory which is all the souls; and the fighting church on earth which is all living Christians. There are only two which can do good are the glorious and the fighting churches; the suffering church cannot do anything good; they completely rely on all the saints’ intercessions and our prayers.

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