“They shall be greatly blessed...”
Reflections on the readings for the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (November 2, 2020): WIS 3:1-9; PS 23:1-3,5,6; ROM 5:5-11; JN 6:37-40
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
“Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.” Therefore Holy Souls can no longer help themselves in becoming pure enough to be worthy of their heavenly home. They look to us for assistance.
Just as yesterday we honored the saints in heaven with whom we are joined in communion, today we remember the souls in purgatory with whom we are also bound. These are our sisters and brothers who have gone before us and are awaiting the moment when they can behold Almighty God in all His glory. They have known and returned His love during life. They have been people of faith. Yet they also committed sins that have kept their souls from being ready to experience His presence. Purgatory is a place of purification so that the traces of our transgressions can be completely and irrevocably removed from souls. Purgatory is not a place to be feared, because there is also hope and, yes, joy there. These souls know that they will be with God for all eternity, as soon as they are prepared to be changed into the perfected versions of themselves He always called us to be. The first reading today on this Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed reminds us that we are meant to live forever in the peace of the Lord. “The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace” (Wisdom 3:1-3).
However, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, “Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.” Therefore Holy Souls can no longer help themselves in becoming pure enough to be worthy of their heavenly home. They look to us for assistance. We can pray for them and offer personal sacrifices to God, asking His mercy so they may quickly join Him. We can remember both those who are dear to us and all the souls yearning to be embraced by the arms of our gracious God.