Saturday, November 01, 2008

All Soul's Day

Today we commemorate,
we remember together all those who have died
all those who have passed from this life to the next.

Today reminds us of a very important fact
Everything is not what it appears.

Anyone who has read the Gospel knows that
Jesus frequently turned the whole world upside down
When he said things like

Loss is really gain
Poor is really rich
Weak is really strong
The Humble are exalted
The Last are really first
And especially
When He teaches
Death is really life

For many,
Especially those without the consolation of faith
death is a scary thing.

For some it is even terrifying.
It appears so dreadful,
without hope

To some death
is the final, absolute, annihilation
It is darkness....

It is easy to understand why people feel that way
and why death is so scary.

A body without a soul
is only a memory of what it was

A body without a soul seems so
unnatural, foreign to our experience

Today we commemorate,
we remind ourselves that appearances can be wrong
and that Death is not all that it seems

Our faith teaches us that
By his death Jesus paid the price of our sins
By his rising from the dead he destroyed death and restored life

Our faith teaches us that…
Death is not an end but rather a beginning
Death is not something dreadful or silent
Death is not the final end

Death is really just a doorway.
The only doorway in fact that can lead us to everlasting life with God
Why do we remember?
Why do we have a day like today set aside
to remember those who have died
and mediate on death?

Why do we pray for the dead?

Some would ask what difference does it make
To them praying for the dead makes no sense
…. God’s judgement is final
If you are saved your are saved
If you are damned you are damned
That’s it…
ran out of time
too bad…
You lose

From the very beginning of the Church
we have believed that some people after having chosen Christ
may not quite ready for heaven

There seems to be many who are too good to go to hell
and not good enough to go to heaven

When people like this die some they still bear the burden of selfishness
or pride
or whatever.

Catholics and some other Christians believe that in God’s mercy
People in this situation are not given a second chance
Remember they have already chosen Christ

But rather they are provided a period of purification
a chance to be made whole
more time to let go of their sins,
their selfishness and their brokenness

We call this moment
this process purgatory

The church says very little more about it.
We don’t know how long it lasts
We don’t know where or how it happens

Simply put Purgatory permits a soul still burdened by sin to come home

We also believe that the prayers of the Saints and
The prayers of the church help in this process of purification

From the time of the apostles the Church has prayed for the dead
In the early Christian cemeteries the graves
were often marked with requests for prayer.

So today on this day of All souls We commemorate
we remember those who have gone before us
We think of them
We sacrifice for them.
We fast for them
We offer up our prayers for them
That their purgatory may be swift
That they may be with God forever…

That is the first purpose the first reason
for this day
It reminds us of those
who have preceded us home
It reminds us to pray for the dead

The second purpose of this day…
Is to commemorate, to remember together
that we too shall pass that way

All of us will one day face death
All of us will one day walk through that door

So often we get so caught up in the challenges of life
that we forget this incredibly important fact
Where they stand we to shall be

And it is important to remember
That how we live and the choices we make matter.

We conform ourselves to the image of Christ with every good choice we make
We deform ourselves,
we wound ourselves with every bad choice we make.

It is so important to remember that
We know neither the time or the hour

When will our time come
When will we face the death?
When will we have to walk through that door
In 20 years
In 70 years
Who knows

All souls day reminds us that we need to be ready
Where would we stand if today were the day we were called to face judgment

Where would we stand if the angel of death knocked on our door right now ?
Where would we stand ?
Would we be ready?

Let us commemorate
Let us remember together
those who have gone before us
Marked with the sign of faith

Let us keep them close in prayer

Let never forget
That death awaits us all…
Will we be ready…

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