November Thoughts on the Passion of Jesus

In November the mystery of the Passion of Jesus appears in the light of two feasts that begin the month, All Saints and All Souls, and the Feast of Christ the King that ends the month. They remind us that the Passion of Jesus is not confined to the days when Jesus was taken to die on the Cross, but this mystery will be revealed in the days to come,  “the Last Days.”  

The November feasts take us into the future to heaven itself where God’s mysteries are made known.

All Saints

The Feast of All Saints reveals humanity’s destiny. God calls all humanity, God calls us to be numbered in that “ great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue,” which the apostle John sees in a vision of heaven. {Revelations 7, 9-13) 

We are called to be children of God. “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.Yet so we are…Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.” (1 John 3: 1)

The Book of Revelation describes the revelation heaven shall be in symbolic terms. It’s “the wedding feast of the Lamb.” Gathered before the throne of God at that feast, as God’s children and bride, the saints sing. Here’s how it’s revealed in the Book of Revelation:

“O Lord our God, you are worthy

to receive glory and honor and power.

For you have created all things;

by your will they came to be and were made.”

God will reveal to us, his children and bride, the glories of creation, “all things that came to be and were made.” What we only see partially now, we will see fully then. We will know then more completely what science has begun to know now. We will see then with new better eyes what mystics and poets see now in a small way. 

There’s also a revelation of Jesus Christ, “the Lamb that was slain.”

Worthy are you, O Lord

to receive the scroll and break open its seals.

For you were slain;

with your blood you purchased for God

men of every race and tongue,

of every people and nation.

You made them a kingdom,

and priests to serve our God,

and they shall reign on earth.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain

to receive power and riches,

wisdom and strength,

honor and glory and praise.”

Revelations 4; 11;  5:9, 10-12.

(Wk 1, Tues eve; Wk 2 Tues eve; Wk 3, Tues eve; Wk 4, Tues eve.  Vespers All Saints.

Jesus Christ reveals himself as “the Lamb that was slain.” God reveals his love. We see  God who emptied himself and took the form of a slave, who took on human likeness and human weakness, who took on death, even death on a cross.  

The love of God that was hidden, unknown, unappreciated, not understood, is revealed. We will see the love of God that was disguised as it worked through human complexity, human sinfulness, the tragic circumstances of life and the world we live in. We will see the power of Christ’s blood, his wounds, his tears, his prayers, his patience, his mercy that fashioned a kingdom, a people from every race and nation, and we will sing. 

“Alleluia, the Lord our all-powerful God is King; let us rejoice and give him praise, Alleluia”

All Souls

On All Souls Day we hear humanity, weak and sinful, saint and sinner, seeking the mercy of God. We lose hope so easily in God’s call and in our own ability to respond to our God, and so we ask God to be merciful to us and those who have gone before us in death. Our prayers on All Souls Day begin with the promise of God St. Paul recalls in his letter to the Corinthians: “Just as Jesus died and has risen again, so through Jesus God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep, and as in Adam all die so also in Christ all will be brought to life.”

All humanity seeks the merciful face of God on All Soul’s Day, not just those who hope in the resurrection of Christ.   

“Remember our brothers and sisters, who have fallen asleep in the hope of the resurrection, and all who have died in your mercy. Welcome them into the light of your face. 

And have mercy on us all, we pray, that with the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the blessed Apostles and all the saints who have pleased you throughout the ages, we may be coheirs to eternal life and may praise and glory you, through your Son, Jesus Christ.”

( 2nd Eucharistic Prayer)

Death and our strong ties to this world saddens us and weakens our faith. Praying for the dead not only benefits those who have gone before us but also deepens our faith in the power of Christ’s resurrection and the fullness of his mercy.

Listen kindly to our prayers, O Lord,

and, as our faith in your Son,

raised from the dead is deepened,

so may our hope of resurrection for your departed servants

also find new strength.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen

The feasts of November point us to the life we’re promised. At the same time, they strengthen us to wait “in joyful hope.” God is with us.

O God, you are my God, for you I long;

for you my soul is thirsting.

My body pines for you

like a dry, weary land without water.

So I gaze on you in the sanctuary

to see your strength and your glory.

For your love is better than life,

my lips will speak your praise.

So I will bless you all my life,

in your name I will lift up my hands.

My soul shall be filled as with a banquet,

my mouth shall praise you with joy.   Psalm 62

Here’s Handels magnificent ending to his Oratorio, The Messiah:

1 thought on “November Thoughts on the Passion of Jesus

  1. fdan

    Dear Father Victor, thank you for your thoughts. You help me with my own ability to respond to God. You may laugh, but now I know, besides the Eucharist and sacraments, I can find the ability to respond in hope through study of the Word, prayer, contemplation of Jesus’s life, death, and Resurrection, and learning from the Masters like you and GMC. My humble thank you to both of you.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s