Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Feast of All Souls


Study:  Recall close family and friends who have died.  Reflect on how they blessed your life.

Pray:  Remember those who are grieving the loss of loved ones in your prayers.

Serve:  Is there an act of kindness you can to for someone grieving?  How can your support help them face the reality of death and the hope of the resurrection?

Readings for the Feast of All Souls

I would like to explain how we get this feast on the weekend. Normally, the feast of All Saints is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Church. However, when a Holy Day falls on a Saturday or a Monday it is “suppressed” so that the Sunday mass does not lose its importance. And when a feast (like All Souls) actually falls on a Sunday – then that is often the feast whose prayers and readings are used.

This is why I went to seminary for a decade….!

There are a number of possible readings to choose from for this feast. They should sound familiar; indeed, for anyone who frequently attends funerals they will echo with past memories.

The Feast of All Souls is a celebration where the whole Church remembers all who have died. On this day we offer prayers, hear readings, and recall the memories of our beloved dead.

Yet the way we do this is in the example and image of Jesus Christ. Think of Holy Week: we celebrate Good Friday (the day He died) and Easter Sunday (the day He rose).

During those days we recall the suffering and pain of Jesus in His last hours on earth. We recite the passion, process the Cross, and dwell upon His sorrow and anguish. Yet it also means that we celebrate with joy His resurrection from the tomb. We fill the church with flowers, sing alleluias, and rejoice that His death led to new life.

What’s true for Jesus is true for us. When we remember our beloved dead we must remember both our grief (because of death) and our hope (because of eternal life). As we offer our prayers this weekend, we then not only admit our sorrow at the loss of a loved one, but we cling to our belief that we will one day be together with the Lord in Heaven.

Therefore, to be genuine people of faith we both acknowledge the pain of death and affirm the hope of eternity. In this way we do not overly focus on one or the other, but recognize that both are a part of our lives as disciples of Christ here on Earth.

On this feast we remember our beloved dead. We hold fast in faith that their passing is not the end, but the beginning of a new life with Christ in Heaven. In this feast we are thus also reminded that we, too, will one day make this journey. May we trust that as others have traveled from death to life, we will follow in the Lord’s path as well.

30th Sunday of the Year – Living our Faith

Love God & Others

Study:  Reflect on some people who live their faith through their loving thoughts, words, and actions.

Pray:  Is there a person or situation in your life that calls for greater charity?  Ask the Lord for the wisdom and guidance to do it.

Serve:  Is there someone in your life right now who would benefit from your time, attention, and/or effort?  How can you help?

30th Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily

I thought I would take this week to talk about something that arises out of the gospel message. The question comes from the insight of Jesus in today’s reading. Simply put, what is the central and most important part of being a Christian? What should be the focus around which we build our lives?

The answer is explicit: LOVE.

Jesus takes the two commands, love of God and love of neighbor and links them as the heart of the Christian message – from which the teaching of the entire Scriptures finds its soul. Love is the sign of the Church, it is the proof of faith, and it is the reality which reveals to others the depth of our commitment as disciples of Jesus Christ.

But what do these commands mean for us? After all, the question for each of us is “How does the law of Love affect me? How do these commands shape my life?”
I look at this from three different angles:

* By how I THINK.
* By how I SPEAK.
* By how I ACT.

In other words, do my thoughts, words, and actions reveal the law of love in my life? When I look at myself in each of these areas do I measure up with the commands of Jesus?

Imagine that each of these parts of life could be made into a movie. I see myself watching “The Thoughts of Fr. Andrew,” followed by “The Words of Fr. Andrew,” and then “The Actions of Fr. Andrew.” Do I like what I see on the screen?

When we come to the end of our lives, I doubt if many of us will wish we had worked more, or earned more money, or bought more things. In the end I expect most of us will wish we had spent more time loving the people in our lives – through what we thought, said, and did.

This love, which comes from God, is intended for us to share while we are here on earth. Our faith tells us that one day the Lord will call us home. On that day may we find ourselves prepared; having loved one another in this life we will then step into eternal Love in the Kingdom of Heaven.

29th Sunday of the Year – God & Country


Study:  Name a role model who lives a principled life.  What is it that they say or do that inspires you?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the strength to make the right choice, especially over a difficult or challenging situation.

Serve:  Is there someone in your life who looks to you for guidance and example?  How can you help them?

29th Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily

The first reading, psalm, and gospel readings today touch upon the notions of earthly and heavenly governance. Part of our human condition requires that we recognize our need for others; by working with people we unite in strength, and by serving the Lord we understand our values and priorities in life.

Let’s start first with human governance. In the first reading from Isaiah we hear how God has anointed Cyrus – the pagan king – as the instrument for Israel’s redemption. While the king does not know the Law or the Prophets, he gives the people of Israel a new opportunity by conquering their enemy, Babylon.

This distinction between the pagan King and the people’s faith is a helpful guide for us today. While Christianity has made countless contributions to Western Civilization, we find ourselves living in a culture that has many non-Christian influences. Some are good, some neutral, and others are just plain bad. Yet Isaiah teaches us today to look for what is good and useful, recognizing that God can work through a variety of instruments.

Since we live in this world filled with all these different elements, we are constantly challenged to discern and choose those options which are good, holy, and true. It is not always easy! Indeed, we can find ourselves confronted by issues that push and stretch us in a variety of ways.

So how do we decide? The gospel today offers a gem from the Lord:

“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
And to God what belongs to God.”
Matthew 22:21

We have duties and obligations as members of both heaven and earth. In the world we have our responsibilities – voting and jury duty, abiding civil laws, serving in local organizations, and actively living as good citizens. And as a people of faith, we are bound to follow the teaching and commandments of Jesus Christ.

So what do we do in a conflict? In the end we remember that all creation is the Lord’s. When pushed to extreme, we follow Christ. God made this world, and one day we will be called out of it. May our example show to others our desire to be good citizens – both on earth, and in heaven.

28th Sunday of the Year – Banquet Invitation


Study:  How do I respond to the Lord’s call to the Eucharist?

Pray:  Take time each day to listen to the Scripture readings for daily or weekly Mass – it is a powerful way to prepare for the Eucharist.

Serve:  Is there someone who you can bring to Mass?  Perhaps the fellowship or hospitality may help another to grow in faith.

28th Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily

Two themes surface in the readings today that require further reflection:
1. God prepares a banquet for us
2. God invites us to come to the feast

The imagery of the banquet feast is found in the readings from Isaiah, the Psalms, the Matthew’s gospel. There are several points of interest here:
* God does the cooking! (Not us!)
* The food is the finest quality (rich & choice)
* The banquet is an important event (you better show up)

The fact is, when God throws a feast it is lavish in every detail. The event is on a grand scale with the best food and drink. What’s more, the Lord is the host of the meal! God prepares a banquet in every respect – as Chef, Host, Servant, Substance, and Lord.

The “feast” has more than just one meaning. This banquet is first of all the great gathering at the end of time when we join the Lord in heaven. This “heavenly banquet” is the final celebration when all the saints unite in the glory of the risen Jesus; what a meal that will be!

Furthermore, since the resurrection of Jesus, Christians have gathered together for the Lord’s supper, where Christ himself feeds us with his Body and Blood. Here on Earth we are “saints in the making” who strive to follow the Lord through the struggles of life. This Eucharist is the feast that gives us the strength we need to face each day with faith, hope, and love.

Both of these banquets – one on heaven, the other on Earth – are presented by the Lord. We receive Christ’s body and blood so that we might follow the Lord through this world to the world that has no end.

Now the second point is this: Do we come and attend? If Christ has prepared a banquet for us in heaven and on earth, then do we respond to the Lord’s call by receiving his heavenly food on earth, and living on this earth as citizens of heaven?

Today the Lord calls us to the great banquet that will happen at the end of time. This feast is the final goal of our journey of faith. For this journey we need strength, and the Lord provides each week for the spiritual food we need to continue on our way.

May we come and receive with open hearts!

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