Romans 11.29-36; Psalm 68; Luke 14.12-14
Last week we celebrated All Saints’ Day (1st November) and All Souls’ Day (2nd November). The whole month of November, though, is devoted to a commemoration of the Holy Souls, and it is fitting for us to continue thinking about those faithful Christians who have gone before us and whose lives of heroic virtue continue to inspire us.
The Church was moved to celebrate Christian martyrs at least from the 4th Century. Generally these celebrations tended to be at some point in the Easter season. In the West, though, November 1st came to be the favoured date (possibly because of a desire to Christianise the Celtic observance of Samhain) and it was made a day of obligation by the 9th Century.
Our Gospel lesson today reminds us that a future day is coming ‘when the virtuous rise again.’ Our commemoration of the saints, not only the canonised saints of the calendar but also those whom we remember ourselves, turns our eyes to the past to fortify our expectations of the future. We trust that God’s justice will be revealed for us and for all people because we have seen in the lives of those of previous generations that ‘the Lord listens to the needy and does not spurn his servants.’