31st Sunday of the Year (a)
Sunday 2nd November: Commemoration of All the Faithful
Departed (All Souls Day).
As far back as the seventh century, it was the custom to set aside a day for prayers for those who have died. It was a Benedictine Abbot, St. Odilo, who set it on November 2nd following the lead of St. Augustine. He stressed the need of praying for the dead outside their actual anniversary since they needed our prayers to reach heaven
Monday 3rd November: Monday of the 31st week of the year. We continue this week with extracts from St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians.
St. Paul reminds us that all selfishness and ambition must be avoided if we truly to be united in Christ.
In the Gospel, Jesus continues in the vein of Saturday’s Gospel. Don’t let ambition and pride make you think you are better than the person next to you.
Tuesday 4th November: Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo.
Charles was born in Arona, near Lake Maggiore in Italy. At the age of 21 he graduated with degrees in both civil and Canon Law. He was ordained a priest at the age of 24 and then called to Rome to serve in the Vatican. He was created a Cardinal and became Archbishop of Milan. He played a major part in the final session of the Council of Trent in 1562.He made many enemies as a result of his condemnation of the abuses within the Roman curia. However, in Milan, he established seminaries (which was a major innovation), personally preached and catechised everywhere, gave to the poor and cared for the sick. He died, worn out by his efforts, in 1584 at the age of 46.
Wednesday 5th November: Wednesday of the 31st week of the year.
St. Paul gives very practical advice to the Philippians and urges them to deepen their faith and trust in God.
Jesus warns that being a true follower of his will not always be easy A firm sense of commitment is required.
Thursday 6th November: Thursday of the 31st week of the year.
The Philippians are warned not to become wrapped up in mere externals. Paul reminds them that he knows all about the Jewish faith and its tradition before he became a follower of Jesus.
Following on his teaching about discipleship, Jesus talks about those who for whatever reason turn away and are lost. There will be great rejoicing when they are reunited.
Friday 7th November: Friday of the 31st week of the year.
St. Paul urges the Philippians to make sure they have their priorities right and not allow materialism to blind them in their efforts to follow Christ.
In the Gospel, Jesus urges his followers to be as adept and enthusiastic in their efforts as the unjust steward was in his efforts to look after his own position.
Saturday 8th November: Memorial of Blessed John Duns Scotus.
John Duns Scotus was born in Duns, Berwickshire in 1265. He was a frequent visitor to the Cistercian Abbey at Melrose as he grew up. When he was fifteen, he entered the Franciscan novitiate at Dumfries before finally being ordained in 1291. He then began a series of journeys between England and France to further his studies. He taught in Oxford and Cambridge for about four years before returning to Paris where he came to be called the ‘Marian Doctor’ after defending what is now known as the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. He did this in spite of opposition from the academic body of Paris University He was sent then to Cologne where he lectured until his death in 1308. His tomb is in Cologne Cathedral. He was beatified in 1992 by Pope John Paul. He is the patron of the National Seminary in Scotland.
We pray that the prayers of all the saints will bring us your forgiveness and love.
We praise you O God and honour all your holy ones.
We ask the help of those men, women and children who struggled against evil and
who loved and served one another,
who worked for justice and peace,
who healed the sick and fed the hungry,
who preached the Good News in season and out of season,
who suffered and died for you.
Make us and all those we love worthy to be called your saints.
Grant unto them
Let perpetual light
shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.