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31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Planning: 31st Sunday of Year B

Planning Tips by Lawrence Mick (2018)

As we near the end of the liturgical year, the readings point our thoughts toward ultimate things. In the northern hemisphere, nature itself prompts us to reflect on the end of life and questions about the afterlife. This can be a healthy corrective to our usual tendency to focus only on the immediate future and our immediate goals.

The autumn season fits well with this month’s focus on death, which is the reality that relativizes everything else in our lives. Many things that seemed so important fade into insignificance as death approaches.

All Saints and All Souls set the tone for November as a time to remember those who have gone before us and also to face honestly the inevitability of our own deaths. Rather than prompting morbid thoughts, the liturgy invites us to look forward to eternal life in God. For those left behind, of course, death brings grief, but our faith assures us that our separation from loved ones is only temporary if we live and die in the Lord.

  • In what ways does your parish invite people to remember their deceased relatives and friends?
  • Do you have visual reminders of those who have gone before us, like a book of remembrance inscribed with the names of those who have died in the past year?
  • Do you offer special petitions at Masses in November for all the departed?
  • Do you provide services outside of Mass, perhaps in the context of vespers, for people to gather and pray for deceased relatives and friends?
  • Would it be helpful to offer a simple reception after such an evening prayer service to allow people to mingle and share their losses and their hopes?

Our concern for the deceased should be matched by our concern for the living. The liturgy reflects the dual commandment in today’s Gospel. It is not enough for us to worship God if we do not embrace our neighbors. Reverence and hospitality in the assembly are not in conflict; both are essential for true Christian worship.

Prayers by Joan DeMerchant (2018)

Introduction

The readings this Sunday call us to listen to the word of God that makes clear the new law of love. Rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures and confirmed in these readings, the commandment that matters most is to love God and to love one another. There is no need for ritual sacrifice but instead we are called to carefully make God’s love the center of our lives.

Penitential Act

  • Lord Jesus, you were sent to show us how to love, Lord, have mercy.
  • Christ Jesus, you are the strength to whom we turn, Christ, have mercy.
  • Lord Jesus, you are our eternal priest and source of all love, Lord, have mercy.

Prayer of the Faithful

Presider: Let us pray for the needs of this gathered community and for our world.

Minister:

  • For the church, for all of us, for the will and desire to love God with all our hearts and strength, to live that love in generosity to our neighbor, we pray,
  • For the U.S. and her leaders on this mid-term election eve; for all U.S. citizens that they may vote mindful of their responsibility to care for their neighbor and to promote the common good, we pray,
  • For those who live each day with doubt and insecurity, for those who are consumed with self-absorption and conceit, for those who struggle to see themselves as the beloved of God, for the grace among us all to love others as we love ourselves, we pray,
  • For all our beloved sick, for those facing addiction or depression each day, for those living with dementia or mental illness and for all families who love them, we pray,
  • With gratitude for the communion of saints who surround us, we remember all who have died in our parish community and those who have died among our own families and friends, for all those who have gone home to God, we pray,

Presider: Loving God, give us openness to your grace so that we may truly hear and listen to your word. When we are tempted to turn away from your love, bring us back to your promise that love is the only command you have given and the reason for which we are made. Make of us your faithful servants and fill our hearts with your strength. We ask this in the name of Jesus, your Son. Amen

RELATED: Pope’s Prayer Intention (October)

2021 Upcoming Sundays:  The National Catholic Reporter offers Sunday planning resources two months in advance.

Love Lures Us On  by Mary M. McGlone, CSJ (2018)

Featured Sunday Homilies

FR. ANDREW RICCI

We are Defined by Our Love for God and Neighbor


The commandment to love God and neighbor is well known, and it can act as a mission statement that guides every single element of our lives…and helping us to grow as Sons and Daughters of God.

LPi Connect!
  • Do We Really Want To Hear?
    by Rev. Mark Suslenko on Friday, October 22, 2021

    Jesus stands before us today and eloquently details the first and second commandments. When we respond to him will he be able to affirm that we did so with understanding? Could Jesus, as he did the scribe, confidently tell us that we are not far from the Kingdom of God?


U.S. Catholic
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Father Geoffrey Plant

Fr Plant, parish priest of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Lane Cove, NSW, Australia says that a homily is “a bridge which seeks to span the distance between God’s Word as we encounter it in the Bible and my life in the 21st century”.

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