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The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed
(All Souls' Day)
Memory Verse
 
"I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies,
will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die."
John 11:25-26
Gospel (John 11:17-27)
17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away. 19 And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 [But] even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”
Background on the Gospel Reading
On the Feast of All Souls, we pray for the souls of all those who have died. There are many choices of readings for this day, all focusing on our belief in the resurrection of the dead and Jesus' promise of eternal life. The Gospel story of the raising of Lazarus offers us many important insights about this aspect of our faith. Jesus was good friends with Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary. Lazarus had fallen ill, and Martha and Mary had sent word to Jesus. Jesus delays his journey to them, however, and when he arrives in Bethany, he finds that Lazarus is dead and has been buried for four days. The scene described at Bethany is a sad one; Lazarus and his family have many friends who have come to mourn his death. Martha goes out to meet Jesus when he arrives. She cries with him, saying that if Jesus had been there, Lazarus would not have died. Yet she remains confident that God will do whatever Jesus asks. Jesus consoles her with the promise that Lazarus would rise from the dead. Martha affirms her belief that there will be resurrection of the dead in the last days. Jesus promises her even more; he says that he himself is the Resurrection and the life for all those who believe in him. Martha professes her faith in this, acknowledging that Jesus is Christ, the Son of God. This is the profession of faith we continue to make, and it is the promise on which we base our hope for eternal life for ourselves and for all those who have died. In his death and Resurrection, Jesus has conquered death for all those who believe in him. We believe that we continue to share a relationship with those who have died. When we pray for the souls of the faithful departed, we are praying for those whose souls are journeying through purgatory, being prepared for eternal life in heaven. We believe that our prayers for them will help to speed their journey to eternal life with God in heaven.
Gospel Reflection
- Today is the Feast of All Souls. On this day, we remember those who have died, and we pray that they will soon be with God in heaven. Through the Communion of Saints, we are connected to all those who have died, to the souls in Purgatory, and to the saints in heaven. We pray with hope today because of Jesus' promise of eternal life. - In today's Gospel, we hear Jesus comfort his friend Martha, whose brother, Lazarus, has just died. Let's listen carefully to what Jesus says to Martha. In his words, we hear about the wonderful thing that Jesus promises to all of us. - Martha responds to Jesus by professing her faith that Jesus can and will do everything that he says. This is the faith we share. We base our faith and hope in Jesus' promise of eternal life. We pray confidently that those who die will share Jesus' promise of eternal life with God in heaven.

 

Please watch the following video clips:



 

 

Bible Quiz
1. What did Martha say to Jesus?
2. What does Jesus say to comfort Martha?
3. Does Martha believe this?
4. What else does Jesus promise?
5. What messages from this Gospel might console someone who was mourning the death of a loved one?

 

 

 

 



 



 

Saint Théophane Vénard
Feast Day November 6

One day, nine-year-old Jean-Théophane Vénard read about a priest who had been beheaded in Tonkin, Indochina, which is in present-day Vietnam. Perhaps because the martyr was from Poitiers, his hometown in France, the story affected him profoundly.
 

“Me, too! I want to go to Tonkin!” he shouted. “Me, too! I want to be a martyr!” By coincidence or by grace, his wish would come true 22 years later.
 

St. Théophane Vénard completed his seminary education in 1850 and a year later joined the Society of Foreign Missions in Paris. His decision caused his family great pain, as the society was a factory for martyrs. Originally he was to serve in China. However, circumstances changed and he was sent to Indochina in 1854. Thus the stage was set for the realization of his childhood wish.
 

A general persecution of Christians was under way in Indochina, but for five years the saint worked secretly with other priests to care for tens of thousands of converts. In 1859, when the persecution intensified, he was forced to hide in the home of an elderly woman. He wrote a friend:
 

Three missionaries, one of whom is a bishop, lying side by side, day and night, in a space a yard-and-a-half square, getting a dim light from three holes the size of a little finger, made in the mud wall, which a poor old woman conceals with some sticks thrown down outside. Under our feet is a brick cellar, constructed with great skill by one of my catechists.
 

Betrayed by a visitor, the priest was arrested on November 30, 1859. While awaiting execution, he was imprisoned for two months in a small cage. He wrote these words in a farewell to his father:
 

All those around me are civil and respectful, and a good number love me. From the great mandarin down to the last soldier, they all regret that the laws of the country condemn me to death. I have not had to endure any torture, like so many of my brothers. One light saber blow will separate my head from my body, like a spring flower that the master of the garden picks for his pleasure. Let us all try to please our sovereign Lord and Master by the gift and the fragrance he has given us.
 

However, Théophane’s decapitation at the hands of an executioner was a gruesome event. He died, a martyr of Indochina, on February 2, 1861. The best word to describe Théophane Vénard is “happy.” He was happy at home, happy at school and seminary, happy when he was sick, happy to be sent to Vietnam. And he was happy in his hiding hole, happy in his cage, and happy to bend his neck for the executioner’s saber. We may not wish for martyrdom, but undoubtedly we would like to be infected with a joy like Théophane Vénard.


Tác giả bài viết: Ban Truyền Thông

 

 

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