We are soon approaching the end of the liturgical year: next Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King. This is followed by our three days of Solemn Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament - the Forty Hours Prayer - just before Advent begins. Candles which will burn - and be used also throughout the year as the sanctuary lamp - can be had from the Sacristy for five pounds. Please find the lists for watching which are at the back of Church
The Readings at Mass this weekend show a continuity between the Old and New Testaments. They manifest the centrality of divine love as the first of all the commandments. God loves us unconditionally and He expects of us, His children, to love in the same manner. We show our love for God and neighbour in the smallest of ways: the time we give to prayer; a genuflection well made, a loving look at a crucifix or holy picture; the prompt way in which we respond to the needs of others, a smile when we are feeling down…all these manifest a desire to love. He looks at the intentions of our hearts, and with the smallest of acts we can show how we are trying to live the two-fold commandment of love: towards God and our neighbour.
As the weather is changing at this time of year, so too is the mood of the Church. The start of November signals the month of the Holy Souls in which we pray more earnestly for the departed who are in Purgatory. Prior to that, on Thursday (1st) we shall celebrate All Saints. This is the common celebration of all those living now with God in heaven. It is the great company of witnesses that is spoken of in the last book of the Bible. We look to them as models, and as friends who will help us along the way of our own pilgrimage to eternal life.
This Sunday's Gospel recounts the request made by the Apostles James and John: they wanted to hold places of honour in His Kingdom. Jesus used the opportunity to teach them a lesson in service: I have come not to be served but to serve. His whole life was a service to others. His doctrine is a constant appeal to mankind to forget self and live for others. He went throughout Palestine serving each person He met along the way. The Church is the continuation of His saving mission in this world. Her very reason for existing is to serve mankind through the preaching of the Word and celebration of the Sacraments.