“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. … Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff. … Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.” (Psalm 23:1,4,6)
Reflections on the readings for The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (November 2, 2022): WIS 3:1-9; PS 23:1-3,3-4,5,6; ROM 6:3-9; 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.
We have a beautiful opportunity on this feast to remember and pray for our loved ones and all who have died. More than that, we can contemplate God’s plan to call us to Himself through the way we live on earth...
The 23rd Psalm that is used on this Holy Day venerating the souls in purgatory is one that is much-loved among Jews and Christians. It offers hope and comfort to us both for our time on earth and in contemplating life after death. Like the other readings for today, it calls us to better appreciate God’s boundless love for us and His yearning for each of us to be with Him for eternity. “Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were indeed buried with Him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. … If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over Him” (Romans 6:3-4,8-9). God created us to be with Him. His Son, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, came to offer us the gift of eternal salvation. Our Redeemer has rescued us from death and opened the gates of heaven to all who follow His path of love and mercy. And the souls in purgatory are now being readied to meet the God who has always loved them and who always will.
We have a beautiful opportunity on this feast to remember and pray for our loved ones and all who have died. More than that, we can contemplate God’s plan to call us to Himself through the way we live on earth; then, for some, perhaps many, it will continue in purgatory. This should not be a frightening thought. On the contrary, we can be consoled that He is readying His precious children to live in glory with Him forever. St. Catherine of Genoa, a mystic who ran a hospital caring for plague victims, said, “I believe no happiness can be found worthy to be compared with that of a soul in purgatory except that of the saints in paradise; and day by day this happiness grows as God flows into these souls, more and more as the hindrance to His entrance is consumed.” Today let us thank God for His incalculable mercy for the living and the dead.