November 2, 2022 – Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/110222.cfm)
In a public cemetery in my hometown, where my grandparents and relatives were buried, I remember when I was a boy, there was this woman, who would also visit a small grave. It was so small and definitely, a grave for a baby. But every year, during this All Soul’s Day, that lady would not fail to come to the grave, clean it, light a candle on it, like many of us would do. However, what made me remember her was the grief and sorrow that this lady would pour out for that grave. As far as I remember, she would be sobbing that everyone nearby could hear her wailing as if it was newly buried.
She must be the mother of that baby buried in that grave. As I can remember what the grown-ups would say at that time, that lady lost her baby by miscarriage. She must have longed so much for the baby and perhaps was haunted by guilt for losing her baby while in her womb. Though her baby was buried for several years already, yet, the pain and sorrow in her heart remained.
As the whole church commemorates today all the faithful departed, we traditionally visit the graves of our departed loved ones. This also becomes an occasion for family gathering and celebrations centered on the memories of our loved ones who have gone ahead of us.
Indeed, there could be some who like that lady is being torn my sorrow and pain for losing someone so dear to us. Some could also feel the guilt for not doing anything we can while they were still alive. Some could also still find hatred and anger in their hearts for their dead relatives or family members because of the pain and trauma they also experienced while they were still alive. Thus, we hope to find peace and pray for peace for all the dead.
Yes, this commemoration of all the faithful departed calls us to find peace, to pray for peace and hope for peace. The Book of Wisdom reminds us today that “the souls of the just are in the hand of God… they are in peace.” It is our hope that the souls of the dead may be justified by the mercy of God and be granted with eternal peace. This is the reason why we have the masses for the dead, remembering them on this day and anniversaries of their death to pray for them that they may be able to share the peace of the Risen Christ.
And we who continue to journey on earth, we know that we are never permanent here and we are destined to share in the newness of life with Christ. While still here on earth, may we come to realize and find contentment in God and desire for nothing else, as the Psalm calls us today, “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.”
Indeed, Jesus in John’s Gospel, tells us today that we all belong to him. The Lord desires that we will remain in him and share in his blessed life. Jesus assures us, “I will not reject anyone who comes to me.” This tells us that the Lord God is mercy, Jesus is mercy.
And so as we visit the graves of our loved ones and relatives today, may we be reminded as well of God’s desire for all of us that we shall live with Him where death has no more power, where grief and sorrow has no more grip on us, but only joy and peace. Kabay pa.
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