It is 02nd November 2023. We commemorate all the faithful departed. We remember our dear ones who have gone before us.
It is All Souls Day. We reflect on Isaiah 25:6-9; Romans 5:5-11 and John 6:37-40.
“Give them eternal rest, O Lord, and may your light shine on them forever.” (Ezr. 2:34-35).
Having celebrated yesterday the Solemnity of All Saints, today, our prayerful gaze is directed toward those who have departed from this world and are awaiting arrival into the Heavenly City. We read in the Preface of today’s Mass: “When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death, we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven”.
It is an important obligation to pray for the dead, because even if they have died in grace and in God’s friendship, they may still need final purification in order to enter the joy of Heaven (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1030).
It is the day of hope. “Hope does not disappoint” (Rom 5:5). Hope offers the grip for the afterlife.
It is the day of prayer for all the faithful departed. The sacrifice of the Calvary re-enacted on our altars brings the dead closer to God through our prayers, suffrages, and penances. May we not just be confined to praying for the ones that are the significant persons we know and miss but the ones no longer remembered by anyone and forgotten by people.
Death cannot disconnect us from our beloved diseased ones when we are united in the Risen Christ and have the faith in life after death. “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (Jn. 11: 25-26).
It is the day of gratitude. Our expression of paying a visit to the nearby cemetery, whether we have buried someone or not, evokes thoughts and emotions that would allow us to be grateful for those who have vanished physically and closer in the presence of God. Our sincere prayers and penance do relieve the faithful departed from their suffering and purify them.
It is the day of professing our faith in the resurrection. Though it looks like a mirage, it is the mystery we encounter with the hope in the risen Christ. The commemoration of the faithful departed is not all about death and dead deceased ones, but it is about life.
It is the day of remembrance in love, gratitude, and affection we have for the one we truly miss at this moment. The word of the Lord is so strengthening as we grieve and gratefully remember our loved ones, “Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.”
It is not a day of mourning but the day of facing the reality of death in the context of faith. We hope to be with them in glory when we reach the Lord after our death. May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. May the perpetual light of Christ shine upon them and strengthen all of us who commemorate the faithful departed. God bless you.