The month of November begins with the Solemnity of All Saints, a Holy Day of Obligation, and the feast of All Souls. These two feast days are dedicated respectively to the dead who have arrived safely home in heaven and to those still experiencing the purifying fires of purgatory. Even though the dead have passed from our physical sight, we remain united as members of the Body of Christ. We continue to pray for them, and they also pray for us. One day soon, the veil between us will be removed, the dead will be raised, and we will see the final completion of the victory that Jesus won over sin and death.
A Catholic funeral points in three directions. It first looks back on the past. We give thanks for the gift of life that was our loved one, and the ways they were a good steward of life by using their gifts and talents to bless others. Then we look ahead to the Resurrection and the life to come. Finally, we look around at this present moment to see how we can learn to be better stewards of the time that we have left. Funerals are an important opportunity for gratitude. They are also a chance to reflect on what truly matters.
The month of November ends with the Solemnity of Christ the King, observed on the last Sunday of the liturgical year just before Advent starts. This feast invites us to reflect on Christ’s universal kingship and reign over all creation. This feast is not a celebration of the fact that one day Jesus will be king. Rather, it reminds us that Jesus already is the true King. His kingdom is offered but not forced upon us. In a world often focused on power, control, and self-centeredness, this feast presents a countercultural message. It reminds us that Christ’s kingship is marked by self-sacrifice, humility, and service. Our Lord’s throne is not one of worldly grandeur but of the Cross, where He gave His life for our salvation.
We get to choose to submit ourselves to his kingdom. By recognizing His authority over our lives, we acknowledge that our responsibility as stewards is to use our gifts in accordance with His will. This means serving others, working for justice, promoting human dignity, and caring for the Earth and its resources. Our actions as faithful stewards should reflect the self-giving love of Jesus Christ.
One day soon, Christ will return in power and glory. All who have been faithful stewards will be abundantly rewarded. Those who have lorded over others and used and abused their gifts for selfish aims or to exploit their neighbors will be severely punished. As we approach this solemn feast, let us take the opportunity to recommit ourselves to Christ. May we strive to be faithful stewards of His grace, using our gifts to live lives of self-sacrifice amid a culture of self-indulgence. Hail Redeemer, King Divine!
In the Heart of Jesus,
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Joel Sember