“If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. We also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, who has now received our reconciliation.” (Romans 5:10-11)*_
Our celebration today is the sequel to that of yesterday. While we celebrated the saints in heaven (known and unknown) yesterday, today is set aside to pray for all the dead. Why all the dead? We pray for every single departed soul today because first, we know that death is not the end of our existence, and secondly, if the departed souls are in purgatory, our prayers today would go a long way to shorten their time of purgation, that is, final purification before they can enter heaven.
At the death of a person, there is usually grief and sadness, especially from his close friends and family members, but no sooner have the tears dried up than the person is completely forgotten! It is as though they never existed. Nothing can be more painful than knowing that a time will come when no living person will remember you anymore. Thank God the church set aside this day for the living to remember the dead.
There are great benefits to remembering the dead. By honouring their memories, we are reminded of our mortality. There is no teacher like the grave. Please visit the grave if you wish to gain wisdom, learn humility, despise vanities, know the value of time and much more. Look at the tombs of those you knew who reigned on earth but now sleep in the grave.
The second and most important benefit of remembering the dead is that it reminds us to pray for them. Today is not a day of tears. Rather, it is a day for prayers. Try to attend Mass or at least pray the rosary, no matter how busy you are. Visit the Blessed Sacrament and say the Lord’s Prayer, even for just one minute. Just take time to pray; pray for the dead. Pray for the souls in purgatory. This is why many masses are celebrated in every Catholic Church today.
You may wonder, do the dead need our prayers? Yes, they do! The dead need our prayers because, unlike other objects in existence, there is something within every human person that never dies. It is our souls, the breath of God within us, that continues to live after our physical bodies have died. Indeed, a dead person cannot eat food or spend money, but the souls of the faithful departed hunger and thirst for our prayers. The only gift we can give them is to pray for them.
What we are celebrating today is hope, hope that it is not yet over for the dead. I hope that one day when we depart, there will be people around here praying for us. Death is not the end. It is only a passage, a new beginning, and our prayers go a long way to affect what comes to a person after they have died.
Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, as we remember the dead today, may the manner of our lives find favour in your sight. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: Wisdom 3:1-9, Ps. 23, Romans 5:5-11, Matthew 11:25-30).*
(C) Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu