He accepted them like a sacrificial burnt offering.
A reading from the Book of Wisdom (Wisdom 3:1-9c)
The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them. In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be an affliction, and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace. For though in the sight of men they were punished, their hope is full of immortality. Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them. In the time of their visitation they will shine forth, and will run like sparks through the stubble. They will govern nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord will reign over them for ever. Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his elect.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 23: 1-220.127.116.11 (R.1 or 4)
R/. The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.
OR: Though I should walk in the valley of the shadow of death, no evil would I fear, for you are with me.
The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me;
he revives my soul.
‘He guides me along the right path,
for the sake of his name. R/.
Though I should walk in the valley of the shadow of death,
no evil would I fear, for you are with me.
Your crook and your staff will give me comfort. R/.
You have prepared a table before me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing. R/.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
for length of days unending. R/.
“Since we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans (Romans 5:5-11)
Brethren: Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. While we were yet helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man— though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
The word of the Lord.
ALLELUIA Matthew 11 :25
Alleluia. Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom. Alleluia.
“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 5 : 1-12a)
At that time: Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Jesus’ comforting words in today’s Gospel captures well the meaning of the occasion we celebrate: “that I should lose nothing of all he has given me but raise it up at the last day.” The souls in purgatory are not lost; though imperfectly, they lived their lives believing in Jesus. Our prayers keep us in contact with them and help us not to forget them. They await what is promised them: eternal life, and our prayers hasten that for them. It is comforting to know that “Jesus rejects no one the Father has given him” and reassuring also that “The souls of our loved ones are in the hands of God, and no torment will ever touch them.” As we pray and do penance for the Holy Souls today, let us resolve now, (today, not tomorrow) to live lives of prayer and penance so that when our earthly journey ends we may be found worthy to enjoy the beatific vision promised by God.