02 November. All The Faithful Departed

1st Reading: Isaiah 25:6-9

A vision of hope: God will restore his people’s joy

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 combination (All Saints Day and All Souls Day) reminds us of the reality of death and life after death. Today is a sober reminder that our bodies will one day give out. Somewhere, sometime, sooner or later, each must experience the moment of death. Then what? Is it nothing but extinction, absolute silence, darkness? Will there be no more love, no more joy, no more laughter?

Jesus promises a future life and has himself gone through the doors of suffering and death into  light of resurrection. Through him we can dream of a life beyond our dreams and imagination. Blessed are they who die in the Lord. What does this feast suggest to us? To commend all our beloved dead into the life-giving hands of God!

Why do we pray for the Dead? It’s based on the belief and hope taught by Jesus, who said: “All that the Father gives me will come to me; and whoever comes to me I will not cast out.” Today our Church prays in a special way for all the deceased, for all those whom we knew, but also for all those who died without our ever knowing them.

Each of us knows only the tiniest fraction of all who have died since the creation of the world. But God our creator knows them all by name. God  waits for us to turn to him with the simplicity of children, trusting in their parents’ love and tenderness!

Jesus says that the Father’s will is that he lose none of his disciples, but raise them all up at the last day. If we remain joined to Christ by faith, hope, and charity, he will never abandon us. And we pray for that same blessing today, for everyone who has ever lived on this earth.

Prayerfully remembering

Today we try to recall all of those we have known and loved — family members and good friends. Indeed, the whole month of November is a time to remember our dead in a special way. As Christians, our remembering those who have died is always a prayerful act… we remember them before the Lord.

Remembering our departed loved ones before God, praying for them, expresses our ongoing union with them in the communion of Saints. We believe that they are with the Lord, and that the Lord is also with us in this life.  In praying for our beloved dead, we ask the Lord to bring them to the fullness of life.

We also pray in thanksgiving 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, we pray that our dead friends now experience that love to the full. [MH]

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