Bishop Thomas Gumbletonby Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

During the month of November, we often turn our thoughts to those who have gone before us into everlasting life. We start the month with the Feast of All Saints, where we remember those who enjoy the fullness of life in heaven — our family, friends, those who have gone before us — and the second day of November, the Feast of All Souls, where we remember those who perhaps are not yet experiencing the fullness of that everlasting life.

There’s a very beautiful part in the letter to the Hebrews that reminds us of this. The author begins to list people of faith down through the centuries, one after the other — multitudes — and then finally says, “What a cloud of innumerable witnesses surround us. So let us be rid of every encumbrance, and especially of sin, to persevere in running the race marked out before us.” So it’s a call to enter into this cloud of witnesses, those who have gone from this life through death to everlasting life.


If we listen carefully to today’s Scriptures, our conviction in that everlasting life — our conviction, our confidence in resurrection, going through death to new life — will be strengthened. First of all, that first lesson is dramatic … this is a part of the history of the chosen people that is only a century or so before Jesus, and so by his time, the understanding of resurrection has become more accepted within Jewish theology.

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