On Sunday, Nov. 2, we commemorate the souls of all the faithful departed.
Jesus sets the tone for the celebration when He tells us, "All that the Father gives me shall come to me; no one who comes will I ever reject. ... It is the will of Him who sent me that I should lose nothing of what He has given me; rather, that I should raise it up on the last day."
If we allow God's word to convict us, we thereby allow it to lance and heal our hearts at the same time. That is, we allow God's word to make us more like God. The first reading for the 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time tells us, "You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourself in the land of Egypt."
This Sunday is Mission Sunday, a time to focus on the work of the foreign missions in the Church. You're a foreign missionary for Christ, whether you know it or not.
You know many people -- perhaps family members, friends or acquaintances -- who really don't know Christ. They might be baptized Christian, but the person of Christ is foreign to them. They're foreigners to the Kingdom of Christ and don't even know it. They may associate with believing Catholics, but they don't know Christ. If they knew Christ, they would become missionaries for Him.
The first reading on the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time offers a vivid image of God's goodness in providing us with a life of spiritual riches. In addition to the gift of the Scriptures, His Son Jesus Christ and the Church with its sacramental system, God also has given the gift of prayer. October is the month of the Holy Rosary, so I want to focus on praying the family Rosary.
Jesus not only taught us how to pray but also modeled prayer for us. He has encouraged us again and again to pray. For example, He has told us: "If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it."
On September 3, 1914, when the cardinals elected Cardinal Giacomo della Chiesa as Pope Benedict XV, he received the customary pledge of their obedience. When Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val, the secretary of state who also had been a candidate for the papacy, came forward, Pope Benedict XV looked him in the eyes and said, "The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone." Without missing a beat, Cardinal Merry del Val responded, "By the Lord has this been done; it is marvelous in our eyes."
Once on the farm when we were night hunting, our lantern ran out of kerosene. It was a very dark night in the woods. We knew where we were, but we couldn't see the path to lead us home, so we simply turned around and gingerly took steps until we got to a gravel road that led us home.
Sometimes in life when we don't pray, or even when we do pray but don't listen to the Lord, we lose our way. Our first reaction is to blame God for not caring for us.