Lectionary Reflections: All Souls Day [a]. November 2, 2014

Engaging Faith | Thu, Oct 23, 2014

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

All Souls Day [a] November 2, 2014

Copyright @ 2014, Center of Concern

The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls)

November 2, 2014



There are many choices today:

First Reading: Wisdom 3:1-9 or Wisdom 4:7-15 or Isaiah 25:6-9

Second reading: Romans 5:5-11  or  Romans 5:17-21  or  Romans 6:3-9  or  Romans 8:14-23  or  Romans 8:31b-35, 37-39  or  Romans 14:7-9, 10c-12  or  1 Corinthians 15:20-28  or  1 Corinthians 15:51-57  or  2 Corinthians 4:14-5:1  or  2 Corinthians 5:1, 6-10  or  Philippians 3:20-21  or  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18  or  2 Timothy 2:8-13

Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12a  or  Matthew 11:25-30  or  Matthew 25:31-46  or  Luke 7:11-17  or  Luke 23:44-46, 50, 52-53; 24:1-6a  or  Luke 24:13-16, 28-35  or  John 5:24-29  or  John 6:37-40  or  John 6:51-59  or  John 11:17-27  or  John 11:32-45  or  John 14:1-6



October 31: Halloween

November 1: All Saints Day

November 2: All Souls Day

November 2: International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists

November 2: Daylight Savings Time ends in the United States

November 4: Election Day in the United States

November 6: International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict



The Cross stands before us in these days as an eloquent symbol of God's love for humanity. … In his Passion, Death and Resurrection, we are shown that the last word in human existence is not death but God's victory over death. Divine love, manifested in its fullness in the paschal mystery, overcomes death and sin, which is its cause (cf. Rom 5: 12).

-John Paul II, General Audience, April 19, 2000


[Each of us] has the right to life, to bodily integrity, and to the means which are suitable for the proper development of life; these are primarily food, clothing, shelter, rest, medical care, and, finally, the necessary social services.

-Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, 11


A spirituality of communion means, finally, to know how to "make room" for our brothers and sisters, bearing "each other's burdens" (Gal 6:2) and resisting the selfish temptations which constantly beset us and provoke competition, careerism, distrust and jealousy.

-John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte


All the life issues are connected, for erosion of respect for the life of any individual or group in society necessarily diminishes respect for all life.

-Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political

Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States, 25


Sickness and death are not taboo subjects. They are realities that we must face in Jesus’ presence.

-Pope Francis @Pontifex, Mar 21, 2014

Let us go forward in hope!

-John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte


Thoughts for your consideration

With the Feast of All Souls occurring on a Sunday, we have a wide choice of readings. Some of them stand out in how they relate to Catholic Social Teaching.  The prophecy of Isaiah 25:6, 7-9 reminds us of God’s desire to bring together and liberate all men and women. The story of the last judgment in Matthew 25:31-46 offers us the possibility to reflect on Catholic Social Teaching in a very explicit way.  God will judge us according to how we live – according to how we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the naked, the sick, and those in prison.

In any case, no matter which readings are used, as we remember those who have died, we may want to include not just people from our personal circle of friends and family, but all those who have died this past year.  We may want to remember the millions of children who die each year from malnutrition or lack of good medical care.  We may want to remember all those who have been killed in the wars in Syria, Palestine, Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, on all sides – civilians and military personal.   We may want to remember those who have died in acts of terrorism and other violence anywhere in the world.  We may want to remember women, men and children who have died in cases of domestic violence.  We may want to remember died in the natural disasters of the last year. We may want to remember those who have died of diseases like cancer or heart problems or AIDS.  We want to remember the thousands who have died from Ebola.  We may want to remember those who have died from the effects of environmental destruction and abuse. Catholic Social Teaching reminds us to make sure that our perspective is wider than our own little circle of family and friends and nation.

On both the feast of All Saints and the feast of All Souls, we are reminded that we believe in the communion of saints.  We believe that we are all united in a profound solidarity. This solidarity is central to our social teaching.    


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

Who are the groups of people who have died as victims of social injustice that you would especially like to remember on this day?


Every life is a gift of God.  We are called to use our lives for the good of all – for the common good.  Who is an example of a person you know who has used their life well for the good of others?



“He ain’t heavy, Father… he’s m’ brother.”   That iconic phrase has symbolized the spirit of Boys Town for decades. But many people don’t know how it originated.

Back in 1918, a boy named Howard Loomis was abandoned by his mother at Father Flanagan’s Home for Boys, which had just opened a year earlier. Howard had polio and wore heavy leg braces. Walking was very difficult for him, especially when he had to go up or down steps.

Soon, several of the Home’s older boys were carrying Howard up and down the stairs.

One day, Father Flanagan asked Reuben Granger, one of those older boys, if carrying Howard was hard.

Reuben replied, “He ain’t heavy, Father… he’s m’ brother.


Actions – Links

As we remember those who have died, we might want to look at a summary of theWars, Massacres and Atrocities of the Twentieth Century at:  For a look at the 30 Worst Atrocities of the 20th Century go to:   For info on the genocides within the 20th and 21st centuries go to:   See also:


Jesuit Universities around the world have been invited to deepen commitment to social justice in new document from Jesuit Curia in Rome.  Find a link to the document at or go to 


The Real Story about Ebola, The magnifying power of poverty by Michael Rozier SJ can be read at 


“Crazy Facts”




Prayers of Intercession

Response: God of resurrection, lead us to new life.


For our relatives and friends who have died this past year, we pray….

For all the people of our world who have died violently, we pray…..

For those who have died in the wars of our time, especially in and around Syria, Palestine, Africa, Ukraine, and so many other places, we pray….

For those who have died in situations of domestic and family violence, we pray….

For those who have died because of hunger and an unhealthy diet, we pray….

For all who have died of treatable diseases, we pray….

For all children who have died this past year, we pray…..

For those who have died from AIDS, ebola, malaria, and so many other illnesses, we pray….

For those who have died because of our abuse of the environment, we pray….

For our planet and its various living species who seem to be threatened by our abuse and over use, we pray…..


Prayer - Meditation

Prayer for Those Affected by Physical, Sexual, Political or Emotional Violence

by the Rev. Patricia Sandra Horton, Birmingham, Alabama, USA 

We pray for those who have died violently because of hatred, mistrust or wanton destruction: Heal the violence that may also have battered our souls.


There is a wonderful prayer at the conclusion of Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation Evangelli Gaudium (which can be found at ).

Obtain for us now a new ardor born of the resurrection, 

that we may bring to all the Gospel of life

which triumphs over death.

Give us a holy courage to seek new paths,

that the gift of unfading beauty

may reach every man and woman.



The Pieta by Michelangelo

Moving an ebola patient

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