Commemoration of the Faithful Departed
Sunday Church at Home
during lockdown in the Coronavirus Pandemic
We remember our brothers and sisters who have preceded us into eternal life.
The lay leader makes the sign of the cross, saying:
Leader: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
All reply: Amen
Leader: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
All reply: Blessed be God for ever
Leader: The Coronavirus pandemic has turned our world upside down. It has been particularly challenging for people who lost loved ones during lockdown with the strict conditions placed upon funerals. Our faith has been important in these times as we strive to make sense of the world we live in.
Each year the Catholic Church remembers all its deceased members in a special way during the month of November. All Souls day (Commemoration of the Faithful Departed) is on the 2nd November. This year we are having a special Mass on Sunday 1st November to remember all those of our parish who have passed away in the last year. Today in our Sunday Church at Home, we are invited to remember in a special way our brothers and sisters who have preceded us into eternal life. Our remembering is not done with the grief like those who have no hope. Rather, we do so in a spirit of faith and hope, knowing that the faithful departed share in the resurrection of Christ and live in communion with us.
LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: Job 19:1.23-27b
Introduction to the reading: The Book of Job is a long parable which grapples with the question of why bad things happen to good people. In today’s passage, Job proclaims his hope of being vindicated before God in spite of the pain and suffering he has experienced.
A reading from the Book of Job
“Oh that my words were written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
Oh that with an iron pen and lead
they were graven in the rock for ever!
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at last he will stand upon the earth;
and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then from my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see on my side,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
The word of the Lord.
Responsorial psalm: Psalm 23
Let us pray the Responsorial Psalm beginning and ending with the response:
R/. The Lord is my shepherd;
There is nothing I shall want.
The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall not want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose;
Near restful waters he leads me;
he revives my soul.
He guides me in right paths
for the sake of his name.
Though I should walk in the valley of the shadow of death
no evil would I fear; for you are with me
Your crook and your staff will give me comfort.
You have prepared a table before me
in the sight of my foes;
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing.
Surely goodness and mercy follow me
all the days of my life:
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
for length of days unending.
R/. The Lord is my shepherd;
There is nothing I shall want.
Second Reading: Romans 5:5-11
Introduction to the reading: Paul’s letter to the Romans is his most detailed and important theological work. This section is asking the question of how sinners can be united with God, who is all holy. Paul teaches that we sinners are reconciled to God through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
A reading from the first letter of Saint Paul to the Romans
Brothers and sisters:
Hope does not disappoint us,
because God’s love has been poured into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
While we were yet helpless,
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.
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,
much more, now that we are reconciled,
shall we be saved by his life.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have now received reconciliation.
The Word of the Lord.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom.
Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12a
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew
At that time:
Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up on the mountain,
and when he sat down his disciples came to him.
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection on the Readings
The leader reads the text prepared by the priest and leads the sharing.
Today we are remembering people we have known and loved, family members and good friends who have passed away.
Indeed, the whole of November is a time to remember all the faithful departed in a special way.
Praying for those who have died should be a quiet fondness for them before the Lord. Remembering our departed loved ones like that, praying for them, keeps us in ongoing communion with them. We believe that they are with the Lord, who is also with us in this life.
We have all been through the pain of separation. We have all had to say goodbye to someone who has been very dear and very close to us. It has been particularly challenging for people who lost loved ones during lockdown with the strict conditions placed upon funerals. Fortunately we are now in Level 1 of lockdown and things are easier now. Our faith has been important in these times as we strive to make sense of the world we live in.
We all have had the experience of letting go of someone through death.
Death is a certainty, as certain as our birth. Very often it is a time of remembering, but it is also a time of sadness, of heaviness and of tears. It is never easy to let go of someone who is dear to you.
You can never fill the void left by that person because that person is unique and only that person can fill that void.
This reality hit me once again a while ago. I was watching the film “Shadowlands” with Anthony Hopkins in the major role. It is a true story about an episode in the life of the great Christian writer and intellectual C.S. Lewis. He was born in Ireland in 1898 and became a Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University. He was an outstanding and popular lecturer and had a lasting influence on his pupils.
Lewis was a bachelor for a long time but late in life he met an American lady. He loved her. His life blossomed. He became more hopeful, more adventurous. His face became radiant and everyone around him realised that something good was happening in his life. However this lady was diagnosed with cancer and died at a young age. He married her before she died. The film ends with this dramatic scene. His wife had a child from a previous marriage. After the funeral the young boy of about ten years of age was alone in the attic. C.S. Lewis sat down next to him. All the boy could say was “I miss her”, and both started to cry as they hugged each other.
“I miss her.” These are profound words which betray so much loneliness, so many shattered dreams and so much hurt and pain. How was he to cope with this reality? In 1940, C.S. Lewis wrote a book entitled “The Problem of Pain”. In it he wrote,
“Nor have I anything to offer my readers except my conviction that when pain is to be borne, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all”.
This is the message in today’s Readings. The Book of Job asks the question of why bad things happen to good people. In today’s passage, Job proclaims his hope of being vindicated before God in spite of the pain and suffering he has experienced. Job says: ‘I know that my Redeemer lives . . . . I shall see God.’
In the Second Reading from the Letter to the Romans, Paul is asking the question of how sinners can be united with God, who is all holy. He answers this question by teaching us that although we are sinners, we are reconciled to God through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
This has been the constant faith of the Church throughout the centuries.
This is where the purpose of Jesus our God becoming a human person lies. It is only Jesus Christ who gives us this commitment that we are destined to live with Him for ever, that our lives go beyond the glory, goes beyond death.
This is the reason why the Church sets aside the month of November as a special time. Remember that our dead loved ones are alive with God. We are called for the same destiny. Be faithful to our God, be faithful to His way of life and this incredible reality becomes more evident in our hearts and minds.
In praying for our loved ones, we ask the Lord to give them fullness of life. We also give thanks for them, thanking God for the gift of their lives and for all the ways we were blessed through them. Today, we entrust our faithful departed to God. As “God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us,” we pray that they would experience that love to the full.
Peace be with those who have left us and have gone to God.
May they be at peace.
May they be with God.
May they be with the living God.
May they be with the immortal God.
May they be in God’s hands.
May they sleep in peace. May they live in peace.
May they be where the name of God is great.
May they be with the Living God now and on the day of judgment.
May they live with God.
May they live in eternal light.
May they live in the peace of the Lord.
May they live forever in peace, with God, in peace.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.
May we also live as people destined for glory, as people destined for eternity.
Questions for sharing
- What are the customs and practices in my family/cultural traditions for remembering those who have passed away?
- Our prayers make a difference to the souls journeying to God through purgatory. How can we help the souls in purgatory during November?
Prayer of the Faithful
Leader: The Lord has spoken to us through the word in the scriptures. We now speak to the Lord in our own words about our cares and concerns.
We pray for the Church: (pause)
that, inspired by the witness of the saints, we may rely upon God’s mercy and providence as we strive to be faithful disciples
LORD HEAR US.
We pray that God’s people, who proclaim that death has been conquered in Christ,(pause)
may they be active in defending His gift of life
LORD HEAR US.
We pray for those who are mourning the death of a loved one:(pause)
that their love may sustain them, and their faith in God’s goodness may be renewed.
LORD HEAR US
We pray for all students writing exams: (pause)
may their dedication and hard work provide good results.
LORD HEAR US.
We pray for all medical staff and researchers in this coronavirus pandemic: (pause)
that God’s healing Spirit will guide them in their work of healing and finding a vaccine.
LORD HEAR US
We pray for all who have died; (pause)
for our families and friends, for those we have loved and those we have not loved; that the Lord of life will forgive them their sins, heal their wounds and welcome them to the heavenly kingdom.
LORD HEAR US.
We pray for Ryan Joseph who died this week.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace. AMEN
Leader: Let us the PRAYER FOR THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED
in your mercy and compassion,
we humbly pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ,
for our relatives, friends and benefactors
who have passed from this life.
We ask your mercy,
through the intercession of Blessed Mary, ever virgin,
and all of your saints,
that they may be joined into everlasting life with you
and may have a share in your eternal happiness.
We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
We can unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a spiritual Communion.
By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us.
I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament.
I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you.
But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment,
feed my soul at least spiritually.
I unite myself to you now as I do when I actually receive you.
Leader: Let us pray to the Father in the words Jesus our Saviour gave us:
All say: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Leader: God, our Creator and Redeemer,
by your power your only Son has conquered death
and has passed from this world into your kingdom.
Grant that all the faithful departed
may share his triumph over death
and enjoy for ever the vision of your glory.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.
A leader who is a layperson, using no gesture, says:
Leader: May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.