By Father Anthony J. Salim, pastor of St. Joseph parish, Olean NY

Season of the Glorious Epiphany
Sunday of the Righteous and Just

            The Maronite Liturgical Calendar closes the Season of Epiphany with three Sundays that remember the Faithful Departed, whose lives were lived out their baptismal and chrismational commitments in an exemplary way serving the Lord. These Sundays are:

--Sunday of Deceased Faithful Priests who served the altars of the Church
--Sunday of the “Righteous and Just,” as the Tradition calls them; in other words, Saints
--Sunday of the Faithful Departed

As we reflect on the power of the sacramental Mysteries of Initiation—Baptism, Chrismation and Eucharist—we try to see how those before us have lived out their baptismal promises, and what impact these lives have made on Church and society. 

In this second Sunday commemoration, we recall how people faithful to the Lord during their lives are to be imitated for their holiness. Some of these are so holy that through their intercession miracles happen. They helped people on earth, and some continue to help people after their deaths, by interceding with Jesus to God the Father for us. Their lives were righteous and they are deemed just.

There are, of course, people whom the Church has always recognized of their sanctity; for example, the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. However, since the late Middle Ages, the Church has devised a process for discerning the holiness of certain people, whose names and lives are proposed for listing in the liturgical calendars of the Churches East and West that make up the Universal Church. Since such a list is called a “canon,” this process is called “canonization.”

We rightly pray:

Hail, Mary, full of grace!
The Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women
And blessed is the Fruit of your womb,
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death.