Month of the Holy Souls (Days 11-12)
November 11, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Day 11

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (6:51-58)

Jesus said to the crowds:
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
     whoever eats this bread will live forever;
     and the bread that I will give is my Flesh
     for the life of the world."

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
     "How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?"
Jesus said to them,
     "Amen, amen, I say to you,
     unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood,
     you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
     has eternal life,
     and I will raise him on the last day.
For my Flesh is true food,
     and my Blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
     remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
     and I have life because of the Father,
     so also the one who feeds on me
     will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
     whoever eats this bread will live forever."

From On John by St. Theophylact of Ohrid

This bread, being the Son of the living Father, is life by its very nature, and accordingly gives life to all. Just as earthly bread sustains the fragile substance of the flesh and prevents it from falling into decay, so Christ quickens the soul through the power of the Spirit, and also preserves even the body for immortality. Through Christ, resurrection from the dead and bodily immortality have been gratuitously bestowed upon the human race. Jesus said to the people: ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me shall never hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.’ He did not say ‘the bread of bodily nourishment’ but ‘the bread of life’. For when everything had been reduced to a condition of spiritual death, the Lord gave us life through himself, who is bread because, as we believe, the leaven in the dough of our humanity was baked through and through by the fire of his divinity. He is the bread not of this ordinary life, but of a very different kind of life which death will never cut short.


Musical Selection (Mozart)

Ave verum corpus, natum
de Maria Virgine,
vere passum, immolatum
in cruce pro homine
cuius latus perforatum
fluxit aqua et sanguine:
esto nobis praegustatum
in mortis examine.

Hail, true Body, born
of the Virgin Mary,
having truly suffered, sacrificed
on the cross for mankind,
from whose pierced side
water and blood flowed:
Be for us a foretaste [of the Heavenly banquet]
in the trial of death!


Lord God,

in whom all find refuge,

we appeal to your boundless mercy:

grant to the souls of your servants

a kindly welcome,

cleansing of sin,

release from the chains of death,

and entry into everlasting life.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God for ever and ever. Amen.


Day 12

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (11:17-27)

When Jesus arrived in Bethany, he found that Lazarus
     had already been in the tomb for four days.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away.
Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
     to comfort them about their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
     she went to meet him;
     but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
     "Lord, if you had been here,
     my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
     God will give you."
Jesus said to her,
     "Your brother will rise."
Martha said to him,
     "I know he will rise,
     in the resurrection on the last day."
Jesus told her,
     "I am the resurrection and the life;
     whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
     and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?"
She said to him, "Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
     the one who is coming into the world."

From a letter by St. Braulio

Lazarus our friend is sleeping. In saying this, Christ, who is the hope of all believers refers to the departed as those who are asleep. By no means does he regard them as dead. Paul the apostle does not want us to grieve about those who have fallen asleep. Our faith tells us that all who believe in Christ will never die; indeed faith assures us that Christ is not dead, nor shall we die. The Lord himself will come down from heaven and there will be the command of the archangel’s voice and the sound of the trumpet; then those who were united with Christ in death will rise. Let the hope of resurrection encourage us, then, because we shall see again those whom we lose here below.

Of course, we must continue to believe firmly in Christ; we must continue to obey his commandments. His power is so great that it is easier for him to raise the dead to life than it is for us to arouse those who are sleeping. As we are saying all these things some unknown feeling causes us to burst into tears; some hidden feeling discourages the mind which tries to trust and to hope. Such is the sad human condition; without Christ all life is utter emptiness.

O death! You separate those who are joined to each other in marriage. You harshly and cruelly divide those whom friendship unites. But your power is broken. Your heinous yoke has been destroyed by the One who sternly threatened you when Hosea cried out: O Death! I shall be your death. And with the words of the apostle we, too, deride you: O death! Where is your victory? O death! Where is your sting! Your conqueror redeemed us. He handed himself over to wicked men so that he could transform the wicked into persons who were truly dear to him.

It would take too long to narrate all the consolations intended for our benefit in the Scriptures. But by focusing our attention upon the glory of our Redeemer there is sufficient hope for our resurrection. Through faith we know that we are already risen from the dead. The Apostle writes: If we have died with Christ, we believe that we are at the same time living with him. We do not really belong to ourselves; we belong to the One who redeemed us. Our will should always depend on his. For this reason we say in the Lord's Prayer: Your will be done. Confronted with death, the sentiments of Job should be our own: The Lord gave and the Lord took away.

May his name be blessed! Let us repeat here and now what Job said, lest we turn out to be unlike him, when our time comes.

Musical Selection (John Michael Talbot)

I Am The Resurrection, I am eternal life
All who believe in me will never die
I Am The Resurrection, eternal life,
All who believe will live forever

I Am The Resurrection and the life
And I ask you now do you believe in me
I am the Son of God, believe in Christ
Who lays down His life for the world


You should not be surprised,
When all the world despises you
For the world despised the Son of God
And he has been raised up.

I Am The Resurrection, I am eternal life
All who believe in me will never die
I Am The Resurrection, eternal life,
All who believe will live forever



God of all consolation,

open our hearts to your word,

so that, listening to it, we may comfort one another,

finding light in time of darkness

and faith in time of doubt.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God for ever and ever.  Amen.