November 2, 2020 – Monday, All Souls Day
Readings from MASSES FOR THE DEAD
2 Maccabees 12:43-46 (He acted in an excellent and noble way as he had the resurrection of the dead in view.)
A reading from the second Book of Maccabees
Judas, the ruler of Israel, took up a collection among all his soldiers amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; or if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.
Psalm 103:8 and 10, 13-14, 15-16, 17-18
R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger, and abounding in kindness. Not according to our sins does he deal with us, nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him. For he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
Man’s days are like those of grass; like a flower of the field he blooms; The wind sweeps over him and he is gone, and his place knows him no more.
John 14:1-6 (In my Father’s house there are many dwellings.)
+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to John
Jesus said to this disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Since the lockdowns and community quarantine, funeral masses and burial rites have been deprived to many. Even our own Redemptorist Brother (Bro. Dominic Alcover, CSsR who died of heart failure) was deprived to be dressed properly for burial, was also deprived to be given a dignified funeral mass. Bro. Dominic served many years in the missions and in many parts in Visayas and Mindanao. It was just so sad that we couldn’t bid our goodbyes before he was laid to rest.
Moreover, a friend’s mother died in September but was in the Intensive Care Unit for more than 100 days. She died without a loved on her side. Though, she died uncertain of Covid-19, but she was unceremoniously cremated immediately without the presence of her family. There was no funeral wake as the whole family was locked up in their home though they never had contact with their mother. It was heartbreaking experiencing this kind of grief.
One could just imagine that while grieving the death of a loved one, we will surely be overwhelmed too with frustrations and disappointments because of the many restrictions. These are just two of the many situations happening today. Many families who lost their loved ones since this Covid-19 time, whether of the virus or not, underwent this kind of difficulty.
To celebrate properly, with devotion and affection the death of our loved ones reminds us of the sanctity of life. Equally, we also celebrate their memories and the gift of life of our loved ones. This is the reason why frustrations and disappointments will also overwhelm us because of the deprivation of celebrating these rituals, something embedded in our faith and culture.
Today, on this All Souls’ Day, we remember in a very special way the memories of our beloved dead. Others could have still feel the grief particularly with those whose loved ones just recently died. And today even, we too are prohibited to visit the cemeteries as a measure to contain and not spread any further the Corona Virus. However, all these should not prevent us also from celebrating this day of Commemoration of the All the Faithful Departed.
As we remember them, how do we celebrate in a simple but wonderful way the All Souls’ Day? There are there invitations for today.
First. Gather as a family and pray together at home and in the Church. Our readings today from the Second Book of Maccabees tells us of this devotion of praying for the dead. We are told how a sacrifice was made to the Temple for the dead, for the forgiveness of their sins. This is a belief of the resurrection and life beyond death. Indeed, our beloved dead continues to be present in spirit. Thus, as we remember them, pray for them and pray with them.
Second. Let go of our troubles and guilt. Others are sometimes haunted by their guilt when a loved one died because they have not done enough for them, because they have not loved them enough, because they were not able to ask for forgiveness. Jesus told his disciples not to be troubled anymore but to trust the Father, to trust Jesus. Holding on to our troubles, worries and guilt will do no good to us and to our beloved dead. We give peace to ourselves and peace to our beloved dead, as we embrace God’s mercy and compassion for us. Trust the Lord’s embrace.
Third. Live life to the fullest and celebrate the fullness of life. As we remember the life of those who have gone before us through the precious memories left in us, we too are invited to live our life and celebrate life to the fullest. Thomas asked Jesus, “We do not know where you are going, how can we know the way?” Yet, Jesus also said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Jesus is basically telling us, to live life fully is to follow me, to know me and to live in my life. Indeed, we shall be able to live life fully with joy, with peace and with satisfaction as we learn the way of Jesus, as we embrace the person of Jesus and we live day by day the life of Jesus.
Thus, living our life today to the fullest is a way of honoring and giving more importance to the our beloved dead who made significant impact in our life. To play dead while still alive, or to become indifferent while being on earth, is certainly a violation of God’s generosity and gift of life. By becoming contented and happy, free from fear and anxiety, then, we give praise to our Creator who shall call us someday to join with Him in eternal life. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR