Sunday 2nd November – Commemoration of the Faithful Departed (All Souls)
Reflection: Wisdom 3:1-9
THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD
The celebration of the feast of All Souls centres on the belief in the resurrection of the dead. The Church teaches that the souls which, on departing from the body, are free from mortal sins but are not perfectly in union with God are debarred from the beatific vision as nothing unclean can enter heaven (Apocalypse 21:27). Hence, the faithful on earth can help them by prayers and especially by the sacrifice of the Mass.
These souls that are yet to attain heaven are in Purgatory. Purgatory (Latin – ‘Purgare’ means to make clean, to purify) is a state of cleansing for those who, on departing from this life are in God’s grace, but are not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their sins. By this, the Church teaches that there are some sins (venial) that can be forgiven after death (1 Corinthians 3:14-15, Matthew 12:32) and that through our prayers we can help the souls in purgatory to attain the beatific vision (2 Maccabees 12:43-46).
Our hope in the resurrection of the dead is one of the core doctrines of the Christian faith. If there is no resurrection of the dead, then all our works of charity, our efforts in living a holy life and walking in the right path will amount to nothing after our death. However, our faith in life after death gives us the assurance that our hope is not in vain (Romans 5:5). In their trials, the Maccabean Martyrs confessed: the king of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws (2 Maccabees 7:9). Our hope in the resurrection of the dead should help us to die to ourselves, die to all that drives us away from God and this same hope should encourage us just like the Maccabean Martyrs, to choose the life that God offers us each day.
Today, let us honour the memory of all the faithful departed and pray for pardon and eternal rest for them. Let us also be encouraged to live in holiness, knowing that where they are today, we also will be tomorrow.
PRAYER: Eternal rest grant to the faithful departed oh Lord and let your perpetual light shine upon them. Amen.
KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 995- To be a witness to Christ is to be a “witness to his Resurrection,” to “[have eaten and drunk] with him after he rose from the dead” (Acts 10:41). Encounters with the risen Christ characterise the Christian hope of Resurrection. We shall rise like Christ, with him and through him.
HIDE A TREASURE: “Well, if Christ is preached as risen from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised.” 1 Corinthians 15:12 CCB
Readings for Today: Wisdom 3:1-9; Psalm 23:1-6; Romans 5:5-11; Matthew 11:25-30