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It All Comes Clear Now

by Bill Brewer on October 31, 2014

By Father Joseph Brando

November, in these parts, is the time when trees reach their brightest glow. Then their leaves, by means of a parachuting parade of color in a gloriously choreographed leap, dance to the ground. When that display is completed, the people who lived, spring and summer, under a green canopy now enjoy a clear view of vistas and skies, heights and depths.

So also, the Liturgy of November opens us up to some of the most basic and mind-penetrating mysteries of the faith. It does so by presenting not four but six major holy days, only one of which is “ordinary.” All together, the Liturgy of the Word during the Sundays of November presents us with a festival of beauty opening us to thoughts of Christmas.

Father Joseph Brando

Father Joseph Brando

November starts out with the feast of All Saints. Like those leaves wafting downward, the Liturgy treats us to visions of multitudes of eternally happy people taking their place in heaven. Our faith leads us to this conclusion intellectually and in actual fact. Like the autumn leaves, the saints’ robes change color from the red of the Lord’s blood to the white of victory and glory.

What emerges from this glorious procession into paradise is the theme of ‘power of God’s love,’ which makes us his children. We become “blessed” by a purification process that begins when we become “poor in spirit.” One way of looking at that concept is to consider “spirit” to be our life’s breath. Throughout our lives every word we spoke and every action we performed was cleansed until everything we said or did was pure. Hence, symbolically, our clothing would appear pure white.

The very next day, Sunday, is the feast of All Souls. Here, we are lead deep into our faith to plunge into the mystery of death. What we find there is worth diving into. We grow in hope because we find immortality. The vehicle for getting to that point is the Old Testament Book of Wisdom. The passage admits that this life can be tough. We can find ourselves punished and chastised. But these pains can be a test that proves to God we are worthy of blessing and the ultimate gift of eternal life. It is “not for nothing” that we undergo the trials of life. In fact, they are tickets to heaven. Therefore, we can rejoice even while we experience them here on earth.

It was “not for nothing” that the Second Person of the Trinity was sent to us by the Father. Jesus came to do the will of the Father, which is “that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.” So, Jesus had a mission and the good news is he will not fail. Our hope is sure. Jesus came down to earth to bring us up to heaven. That’s what makes All Soul’s Day a feast.

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Eric Theodore, Knoxville Catholic High School Class of 2011, and Carolyn Sue (Wright) Huber, KCHS Class of 1951, show Mr. Theodore's drawing of noted author Cormac McCarthy, KCHS Class of '51, on Oct. 18 at the high school. Photo by Bill Brewer

Eric Theodore, Knoxville Catholic High School Class of 2011, and Carolyn Sue (Wright) Huber, KCHS Class of 1951, show Mr. Theodore’s drawing of noted author Cormac McCarthy, KCHS Class of ’51, on Oct. 18 at the high school.
Photo by Bill Brewer

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy has a standing invitation to return to the high school where he graduated in 1951, which now features a portrait of the author as he appeared in his senior picture and a plaque honoring him for his literary accomplishments.

The invitation was extended by Knoxville Catholic High School President Dickie Sompayrac on Oct. 18 as he and 2011 KCHS alumnus Eric Theodore unveiled the charcoal drawing of Mr. McCarthy created by Mr. Theodore.

Speaking to about two dozen friends of Mr. McCarthy and KCHS, Mr. Theodore explained how he was introduced to Cormac McCarthy as a KCHS freshman writing a research paper on the literary icon.

“Although more than a half century had passed since his graduation, the fall of 2007 was an exciting time to study McCarthy. Earlier that year he was awarded one of literature’s highest achievements, the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, for his novel The Road. That summer he granted his first and only recorded interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Shortly afterward, the novel No Country for Old Men was made into a film, which won the Academy Award for best picture the following spring,” Mr. Theodore said, noting that while it appeared Mr. McCarthy was a sudden literary success, he actually had spent decades writing critically acclaimed books leading up to his recent series of successes.

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