02 November. All Souls Day

Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed

1st Reading: Isaiah 25:6-9

A vision of hope for the future, when God will restore his people to happiness

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever.

Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.

It will be said on that day, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30

Jesus tells us of the Father’s gracious presence

At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”


Loved into Eternity

“See what love the Father has bestowed on us.” The Halloween combinatrion of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, reminds us of the reality of death and life after death. These days are a sad reminder that our bodies will one day give out. Somewhere, sometime, sooner or later, we will experience the startling reality of death. Then what? Is it all over for the individual? Nothing but extinction, absolute silence, darkness? Will there be no more love, no more joy, no more laughter?

Jesus assures us that there is a future for us. He has personally walked ahead of us through the doors of death and came back and say there is light, love and laughter and rejoicing in the presence of God.

Why do we pray for the Dead? It’s based on the belief and hope taught by Jesus himself. He once said: “All that the Father gives me will come to me; and whoever comes to me I will not cast out.” Today the Church asks us to pray especially for all who have died, not only those whom we knew, but for all who have gone before us.

Whereas we know only a tiny fraction of those who have died in the past, our creator-God knows them all, and each one in their individuality. God knows all things: he knows what each one is doing now for he listens to us, and cares for us. Our Lord declares that of all the people entrusted to him he will lose none. So if we remains true to what God wants of us, he will raise us up at the last day!

Prayerful remembering

Today we are remembering people we have known and loved, family members and good friends. Indeed, the whole of November is a time to remember our dead in a special way. Praying for those who have died should be a quiet fondness for them before the Lord. Remembering our departed loved ones like that, praying for them, keeps us in ongoing communion with them. We believe that they are with the Lord, who is also with us in this life.

In praying for our loved one, we ask the Lord to give them fullness of life, as he gave life to the widow’s son in today’s gospel. We also give thanks for them, thanking God for the gift of their lives and for all the ways we were blessed through them. Today, we entrust our faithful departed to God. As “God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us,” we pray that they would experience that love to the full.

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