November 21, 2020 – 33rd Week in Ordinary Time

“Growing in our faith in the Resurrection and living in holiness and sanctity!”

(Based on Rev 11:4-12 and Lk 20:27-40 – Saturday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time – Feast of the Presentation of Blessed Mother Mary)

There is a story of a man who had been afflicted with a terminal disease.

With much fear of death, he sought counselling and help from one of his Christian doctors.

The doctor, was initially lost for words.

He did not know how to console the dying man.

As he was fumbling for an answer, he heard the noise of scratching on his door.

He got the answer for consolation.

“Do you hear that?” he asked his patient, calling his attention to the scratching noise on the door.
“Well!” continued the doctor, “that’s my dog!

I left him downstairs.

But he has become very impatient and has come up, hearing my voice.

He doesn’t have much idea, of what’s happening in here – beyond the door…
… but he knows one thing: ‘That I am here!’

And so, if I open the door now, he would just jump over me, into this room!”

The doctor continued, looking into the eyes of the patients, “Isn’t it the same with our lives?

We don’t have much idea of what lies beyond the Door, but we know that the Master is there!”

This is the Christian Faith: that beyond the Door of this Life, is the Master!

This is the hope of Resurrection!

The Gospel of the Day is an invitation to reinforce our faith and hope in the Resurrection.

The Sadducees who did not believe in the Resurrection, put forth a question of “after-life” to Jesus. (Lk 20: 27-33)

Jesus, Who knows the intentions of all hearts and the craftiness of every mind, spoke…
… of the difference in the nature of life – in this world and in the next
… of His sovereignty over those who have died and those who are alive

Referring to the passage of the Burning Jesus, Jesus proclaims, “… He is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him, all are alive!” (Lk 20: 38)

This verse of the Lord is one of the direct and easy-to-understand basis…
… for the Catholic teaching and practise of “praying for the dead”.

Many are the times when this noble piety of the Catholics is put into question…

“It is unbiblical to pray for the dead”
“Our prayers have no effect on those who are dead, since it is not our works, but their faith, which saves”
… These are some of the statements said against the Catholic practice of “praying for the dead”

But the Lord very clearly shows, through today’s Gospel…
… that God is the God of all – the living and the dead
… that all are living for Him – even though for us, apparently those who are gone from us, are dead

It is our human experience, that while living on this earth…
… we do seek the help of one another – especially through prayers.

We ask one another’s help and prayers…
… when we are going through a crisis or problem
… when we are struggling through sufferings

Then can’t the same logic be applied to those who have died (who are actually alive in the eyes of God!)
Can’t those who are away from this world – the faithful departed – seek for our help and assistance, in their moments of suffering and struggles?

(For those of us… who may have doubts as to “what kind of suffering do the dead have…”

The Church teaches us …
… Nothing unclean will enter the presence of God in heaven (Rev. 21:27)

While we may die with our mortal sins forgiven, there can still be many impurities in us…
… especially venial sins and the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven.

Therefore, it is needed to have “purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven… “

This is called as “purgatory”.

This purification causes suffering… as a purification that takes place in fire!

The dead – the faithful departed – seek our prayers, for a deliverance from this struggle of sufferings!)

November is a month especially dedicated to pray for the Faithful Departed.

The Church invites her children in this world…

To remember and pray
To offer sacrifices and penances
To lead a life away from sin, in holiness
… for the faithful departed!

Yes, it is our faith and hope in the Resurrection that spurs us…
… to live a life of holiness
… to be zealous in reaching out the message of salvation to all
… to be fervent in our prayers for the suffering who have passed away from us

Let us cease to be a “practical Sadducee” professing belief in the Resurrection only in lips but failing to display this belief by a life of holiness!

It is true that we don’t have much awareness of how the “next life” would be…
… We do fall short of words to explain the nature of the life-to-come or rationally describing “how heaven would be!”
… We may even have our own fears and anxieties in thinking of death or in the parting moments of our loved ones!

But we do know for certain one thing: that we would be one with our Lord- the lover of our soul…
… the fullness of joy
… the supremacy of holiness

Yes, we don’t have much idea of what lies beyond the Door, but we know that the Master is there!

Let us grow in our faith in the Resurrection…
… and let us live a life of holiness and sanctity – that would boldly proclaim this belief to all!

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mother Mary.

The Feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mother is a reminder and a challenge to us to give greater attention to a life of holiness.

It is also a constant reminder for us to “offer ourselves” to the Lord.

We can offer many things to the Lord…
… our talents for His glory

… our possessions for His service

But the greater and the better sacrifice, that the Lord not just wishes, but also demands, is the Offering of our Lives.
… an offering of a faithful life
… an offering of a holy life

Today, as we celebrate the Feast of our Blessed Mamma’s Presentation, may we “give ourselves” wholly to the Lord.

We shall also seek the intercession of our Beautiful Mother, so that, like Her, we too can be wholly belonging to the Lord!

Yes, as little children, holding the Hands of our Blessed, may we cry to the Lord – “For You, Forever!”

Happy Feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mamma!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “How do you love yourself? Is it a love which concerns this life chiefly?

If so, you will desire to abide here forever, and you will diligently seek your worldly establishment.

But if the love you bear yourself has a heavenward tendency…

… you will be ready to go hence, whenever it may please our Lord.

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