Malachi 1:14b–2:2b, 8-10; Ps 131:1-3; 1 Thess 2:7b-9, 13; Mt 23:1-12
Thank you Holy Spirit, for increasing your knowledge and understanding in us. When I comb through the Sunday readings I am looking for a theme that is positive and encouraging. The first and gospel readings this week are rather negative. In the Malachi reading we are encouraged to stay close to God and his plan for our lives. If not, we shall not receive his blessings but negative things.
In the gospel Jesus has some of his harshest words to say to the religious leaders who were more interested in their own pride and self-importance than humble service to the people. Psalm 131 tells us to be still and quietly rest in God as a weaned child in its mother’s lap. That should be a comforting thought and feeling for us.
Ministry to converts
I find very comforting slowly reading and reflecting on this section of St. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. Paul, Silvanus and Timothy’s ministry work among those converts proved very effective. These missionaries were working among the people to provide for their own needs rather than expecting the people to provide for them.
Paul praises those converts for receiving the God’s Words. They believed in them and put them into practice in their daily lives. Since this is the early part of the Thessalonians letter, it is helpful to read the introduction to that letter in your own Bible.
Praying for all souls
November in our church calendar is dedicated to praying for those Christians, some family, friends and relatives, who have died. If they were not perfectly conformed to Christ here on earth and did not choose to follow satan and his kingdom opposed to God’s kingdom, those souls need to spend some time of purification in what we call Purgatory.
Some mystics tell us that the suffering we endure in Purgatory is being deprived to the glory and love of the resurrected Jesus Christ, which we encounter a very short time after our soul leaves our earthly body. When we are further purified, we and go to heavenly glory with all the angels and saints before the throne of God.
The souls in purgatory cannot pray for or help themselves. So during this month they can benefit from our prayers. We can have Masses said for them, pray our rosaries, pray Chaplets of Divine Mercy or other devotions. Jesus Christ’s suffering and death have gained for all humanity great blessings, which cannot be counted. Through the various channels of prayers in the church, graces can be applied for the souls in purgatory.
Plenary Indulgence graces
We can gain a Plenary Indulgence once a day to apply for those in purgatory under certain guidelines. These graces cannot be applied to other living persons. When we sin there is a temporal punishment due for that sin. The sin can be taken away by going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) yet the punishment due those sins is not taken away. It adds up. When we fulfill the conditions of the Plenary Indulgences, those punishments are erased by the merits of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross for us.
Once we have your own temporal punishment for our sins taken away, we can then apply the merits of this indulgence to a soul in purgatory. That gets them to heaven sooner and then they can pray for uw. We can help many souls get to heaven this month. Amen.
Holy Spirit, I ask you to give a double anointing and enlightenment of your power to all who are reading these short words so their lives will also be abundantly productive for living out your messages of love. Then more and more will come into Christ’s church like tumble weeds being blown off the desert.
Praise God! Let us get closer to Jesus as bark is to a tree so we will be more productive for your glory.
Have a good week,
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2017 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)