Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

Revelation 14:12

We start the month of November, as always, with a Solemnity honoring all the saints. Revelation 14:12 challenges the saints to endurance in keeping the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. If there was ever a year in which we have been called to endurance it was this one. What is this saying to us and what can we learn from this? Younger people might say: “I’m gonna hang tough for Jesus, suck it up and stick it out,” but that glorifies our abilities outside of Jesus, saying I can do it on my own. That is not our call, the call to those who would be saints. Rather, we are called to trust fully in Jesus. ‘Here is a call’ is an announcement pointing to the faith of Jesus. It’s the faith of Jesus that must live within us and be our power to face life’s trials. If we focus on ourselves instead of our Savior we set ourselves up for failure. We pose as hardened spiritual Rambos. That promotes self-trust and pretending. Human perseverance is a strength for sure, and God can use it, but that is not enough. God can’t do anything with us when we’re trusting in our own strength or leaning on our own understanding. Paul got it and told the Corinthians to rejoice in weaknesses. For when I am weak, then I am strong. The key to enduring the unendurable is to lift our eyes off present circumstances and ourselves, and to focus on what the Lord will bring about even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us. These challenges and hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us who are called to be saints. What Revelation is saying and what we can learn is this: That Jesus living within us is our true strength, the center of our lives. He calls us to rely on Him and to endure in that truth so that His light shines out of us. Jesus is the treasure within us, called to be saints, with a hope beyond hope and a blessed future.

Welcome to November’s newsletter. This month we focus on the saints and pray for our loved ones in their journey to heaven. There are plenty of thanks to offer as we approach Thanksgiving — so much good has been accomplished by our endurance. We begin planning for our 100th Anniversary, observed in 2021. We invite you to participate in planning, There is a great reflection on what happens on November 4th; what is the Christian to do post election? Also stay tuned for Valentine’s Raffle tickets and our planning for Advent which begins November 29th.

Read about all it in our November 2020 Newsletter.

Turning point.

“Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.” He said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”

As I noted last week, the end is near! Well, the beginning of the end. As Christians we are to be always prepared for the end times, for the last things, for we will be called to account for how we have carried out our lives, how totally on-board with Jesus we were. So, let us begin again today. Let us take this very moment as our turning point.

Last week introduced us to the beginning of Jesus’ teaching on the end times. Next week we will go deeper into those teachings. Today we reflect on the lives of the saints, those already taken into the Lord’s presence. It is what we will see one day if we accept our turning point. Thereafter, and throughout November, we will pray for those who have died and are still awaiting that moment, who are going through a time of purification, who missed their turning point. Your prayers, and offering of the Holy Mass, for departed loved ones helps them get into the Lord’s presence, so it is a worthy thing to do.

Revelation talks about “the ones who have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.” These are the saints of God, the martyrs, confessors, abbots and abbesses, bishops, priests and deacons, evangelists hermits, kings and queens, monks, penitents, princes, virgins, widows, writers – the people who have been faithful to Jesus in how they carried out their  lives, who were totally on-board with Jesus. They all took Jesus’ beatitudes seriously in the moment they came to their turning point.

We are all familiar with the heroic virtues of the saints, but often miss that moment they encountered their turning point. That turning point pushed aside their self-created ideal life. They finally listened to the Holy Spirit’s promptings. The Lord doesn’t want you to do that, but to use your life to accomplish something so much greater. The Lord wants you to turn away from your sin and to live out the opposite beatitude. This is what we must hear, what we are called to say yes to.

In recent decades, saints have been cranked out; people being called saints through a process that is more political and publicity than a recognition of complete life altering transformation. We must not be fooled by cheap processes. The call to sainthood – our call – requires we encounter that transformative moment, accept it, and live new lives in accord with what God desires from us, the beatitude life: poor in spirit, meek, thirsting for righteousness, merciful, clean of heart, peacemakers, insulted and persecuted. This very moment is our turning point chance to be among those wearing white robes and standing before the throne and before the Lamb.

We need a
hero.

After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.”

Many of our fellow Christians get worked up over the dangers of Halloween. They see it as a glorification and perpetuation of evil. Setting aside the fact that or little Batman, Disney Princess, and movie character is a lot more interested in candy than in evil, Halloween does give us a really good lesson to reflect on as we come to church today on the Solemnity of All Saints and as we remember all our dearly departed throughout the month of November.

Part of the danger we face these days is that we think that the evil of evil isn’t real. Some romanticize evil and ignore its real dangers. A few are so paranoid of evil that they give it power over their lives – like those who try to ban Halloween altogether. Sadly too, there are those who delight in evil and immerse themselves in it. They become numb to what evil is – hatred and the power of death.

If we have watched old horror movies or have read the universe of good stories with their villains and heroes we confront the fact that these stories, based in the experience of their writers, reflect the fact that evil is real. We learn that vampires, werewolves, and mummies shouldn’t be let in the door. We know that these creatures, like evil, are deceptive and dangerous. We also knew that in the end good will prevail. Evil is overcome by great and even unlikely heroes.

So the Holy Church teaches us. First and foremost, the power of our Lord and Savior has overcome all evil. At His death, Jesus crushed Hell beneath His feet. His Precious Blood is the sure remedy that eliminates sin and death. He is on the Heavenly Throne. We, those who have preceded us in holy death, and the glorious band of saints and martyrs will be and are: “… the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.

We should not diminish the evils of the world, or their real danger to us. At the same time we should have confidence that evil holds no power over us if we are in Jesus.

Our power and confidence come from the fact that we are children of God, people of the Light. We have a glorious band of heroes who we should model ourselves after – and like those great saints, let us all find in Jesus the example we are to follow, the way we are to go, and the attitudes we are to live. Then we will indeed be heroes and the blessed of God.

Solemnity of All Saints and All Souls Memorials

As the remaining days of October pass the days grow shorter, the colors of autumn take hold, and our thoughts turn to the Commemoration of All Souls.

The Holy Church sets aside the month of November to commemorate those who have preceded us in holy death. As Christians we recognize that death is not an ending, but rather a change. We pass through death into everlasting life. We remain joined with all those who have died. We rely on them for their intercession on our behalf. They rely on our prayers and intercession to ease their transition, their journey into the glory of heaven.

We will remember our dearly departed during the month of November according to age-old Catholic custom of commemoration and prayer…a custom known as “wypominki.”

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If you would like the souls of loved ones to be remembered during the Commemoration of All Souls and at all services throughout the entire month of November, please send the names of these loved ones to Deacon Jim by Sunday, October 27th. Alternately, you can E-mail the names of those you wish commemorated to Deacon Jim.

We will celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints on Friday, November 1st at 7:30pm followed by the reading of the names of all the faithful departed.

There will also be a Commemoration of All Souls at Good Shepherd Parish Cemetery on Truax Road in Amsterdam, NY on Sunday, November 3rd.

Solemnity of All Saints and Observation of All Souls

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. — Hebrews 12:1-2

Let us consider the great cloud of witnesses of old and among in this day and age. Their heroism, endurance, holiness, love of their brothers and sisters, the crosses they bore, the example they provide are not accomplished on their own. Rather, through the grace of God they have been strengthened to do what Jesus asks of all of us. Let us heed their example, knowing that for every failing in our lives, God picks us up, renews us, and enables us to be saints.

Let us also recall that our brothers and sisters who have preceded us in Holy Death are a hopeful sign. Jesus overcame death; so shall we because of our faith in Him. He told us that we who weep and mourn will be comforted. Be comforted in His promise of eternal life. With that confidence, offer up prayers for our friends, family, neighbors, and parishioners who have died. With our prayer, their journey to the heavenly kingdom is eased and their souls are made strong. With our help, they will attain the new and heavenly Jerusalem. There we will stand with them, also among the multitude of angels, saints, elders, and faithful worshiping before the throne of God and the Lamb. The family of faith is eternal, we are all joined together, here and now and forever with God.

Month of All Souls – remember the souls of your family and friends

As the days of October pass the days grow shorter, the colors of autumn take hold, and our thoughts turn to the Commemoration of All Souls. The Holy Church sets aside the month of November to commemorate those who have preceded us in holy death.

As Christians we recognize that death is not an ending, but rather a change. We pass through death into everlasting life. We remain joined with all those who have died. We rely on them for their intercession on our behalf. They rely on our prayers and intercession to ease their transition, their journey into the glory of heaven.

We will remember our dearly departed during the month of November according to age old Catholic custom of commemoration and prayer…a custom known as “wypominki.”

If you would like the souls of loved ones to be remembered during the Commemoration of All Souls and at all services throughout the entire month of November, please send the names of these loved ones to Deacon Jim by Sunday, October 28th. Alternately, you can E-mail the names of those you wish commemorated by E-mail to Deacon Jim.

We will celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints on Thursday, November 1st at 7:30pm followed by the the reading of the names of all the faithful departed.

All Saints and All Souls Day

Holy Mass for All Souls Day (a Catholic Holy Day of Obligation) will be celebrated according to the normal Sunday schedule with Matins at approx. 9:20am and Holy Mass at 9:30am.

16The Observance of All Souls, at which we will remember our dearly departed, will take place in the evening on Monday, November 2nd.

Prayer list envelopes are available in the back of the church to place the names of your dearly departed for All Souls Day/Dzień Zaduszny. The reading of the Rote of the Departed/Wypominki will take place the evening of November 2nd and every Sunday morning throughout the month of November.

May our gracious Lord continue to bless the souls of whom He has brought to eternal life.