OFFICE FOR LITURGY

of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford

The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed

Yesterday our Second Reading ended by saying “...everyone who entertains this hope must purify himself.” Today we remember the faithful departed, still on the path of purification, as they approach the glory we glimpsed yester­day. Today’s mood is not necessarily only one of mourning, though that will certainly be present. The readings that are suggested in the Lec­tionary speak of hope and expectation ‑ looking forward to a day when the long journey of sepa­ration and grief will be over. The tone is all about what will be, and we can talk like this with confidence, because “our hope is not deceptive”. The tone of hope and confidence, even in the face of death, is emphasised by the suggested Gospel: if all we wanted to do was to mourn and grieve, then we would stop the story of Jesus’ death after the words of the centurion. But to do that would be to deny the very central fact of our faith: the Gospel must continue to end with the words of the angel: “He has risen.” And our faith (and hope) tells us: as he has risen, so shall we.

Notes for Readers

From the Catechism

First Reading: Isaiah 25:6‑9.
 
This reading, which also appears in Advent, is full of the hope that should mark this commemoration: it looks forward to a day when this world, with its grief and mourning, is forgotten - when even Death is destroyed forever. It is very difficult to read in a ‘hopeful’ tone of voice: the alternative is to read with confidence: notice it does not say, “This might be so” or “God might do this”; the reading states emphatically, “The Lord will...” Fidelity to the Word of God will ask you to read this with great faith and hope in what the Lord will do for his people. Per­haps the final lines, “We exult and we rejoice that he has saved us” could be read quietly rather than jubilantly, with the gentle confi­dence (even relief?) that God is there to save.
 
Second Reading: Romans 5:5-11
 
The hope that is expressed in the First Reading is here explained and justified by Saint Paul: he argues that Jesus’ death for us (when we were still sinners) doesn’t just indicate that God likes us: it “proves that God loves us.” This is the centre of this reading, and the point to aim for. These are real words of comfort ‑ not soft words, it is true: words filled with a fire of faith and conviction. But surely that is real comfort… Read with utter confidence, and if you can feel it, allow the lurking passion of Saint Paul's faith to add an extra layer of strength to your proclamation of his words.
 
These readings (given in Volume I of the Lectionary for 2nd November) are only sugges­tions: any of the readings of Masses for the Dead in Volume III may be used. The reader should consult to see which readings will be used. On this day, whichever readings are chosen, prepare them well: they are God's spe­cial words of comfort and hope to those who mourn.
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