Scripture Readings: Wisdom 3:1-9; Romans 5:5-11; John 6:37-40
Yesterday, (November first) we celebrated the Feast of All Saints, not only a reminder of the people that are “officially recognized” as Saints, but the reminder that we are all called to be whole and holy people – Saints, if you will.
Today, November second, we celebrate the Feast of All Souls. Today, we remember and celebrate the lives of those who have gone before us, “that great cloud of witnesses who surround us,” as we hear today in Hebrews. (And who says the cloud is something new to the internet age).
Did you know up until 200 BC or so, Jewish believers were of the mind that death was the end of every creature’s existence and that only God was immortal. Gradually, however, there came the realization that human beings were blessed with an Immortal Spirit that survived death. Death is not the end, but a moment of passage into peace in the presence of God.
Life Eternal is God’s gift to us, even for the imperfect person and sinner that we are. God assures us in the Gospels – “I will not reject anyone who comes to me.” Today and everyday may we turn to the Lord, not away from the Lord.
Whenever I officiate at a funeral, I always mention our prayers for the deceased, but I add, as “proper, right and just as it is to pray for those who have died, they also pray for us.”
They pray for us because life may be changed when some dies and is no longer with us, but life is not ended when someone dies, our relationships of life continue in a new way.
One author says of All Souls Day, “It is a day to REMEMBER with LOVE.”
Who do we remember with love today? A spouse, a parent, a child, a relative, a friend, a neighbor…
What is the story, or what are the stories, of that person’s life and faith that you remember and share with others so they will not be forgotten?
Perhaps today’s Mass (and the lives of our faithful departed) will inspire us to live with courage and compassion, with caring and generosity, with faith, hope and love, thereby creating fond memories for those who will someday mourn and celebrate our going forth into the bright land beyond.
Finally, just a word about how we live as Catholics, as Christians, as People of Faith from Pope Francis:
“How many times have we heard in our neighborhoods, ‘Oh that person over there always goes to Church, but he badmouths everyone, skins them alive.’ What a bad example to badmouth other people. This is not Christian.” The pope continued, “Casual scandal and being a bad example turn people off, making them think: ‘Hey, if that is being Christian, I’ll be an atheist’. That’s because our Witness is what makes people see what it is to be Christian.”
But the Pope also continued by reminding everyone that “while sin and human weakness can create ‘scandal’ and plenty of bad example in the Church, God also Lets People Grow in Holiness.”
The people we remember today grew in God’s Grace and Holiness and if we want, “we too can continue to grow in God’s Grace and Holiness,” today, tomorrow and everyday. And in the process, “become a source of witness. To be witnesses of what Jesus wants us to do by what we say with our life.”
Today’s Feast will someday be our Feast!
All you Holy Men and Women pray for us!
Please pray us into Heaven with you!