The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls Day)
(Wisdom 3:1-9; Romans 5:5-11; John 6:37-40)
We know that we have become old when we count more friends among the dead than the living. A twenty or thirty year- old will likely have experienced the demise of only a handful of loved ones. But this is hardly the case for a person who has reached sixty or seventy. She or he longs for eternal life as the reunion with the many deceased people who shaped their lives. Today, the Solemnity of All Souls, we have a foretaste of that event.
Cemeteries, which normally have few visitors, become crowded today. People come with flowers and, in some cultures, food for their beloved dead whom they often address with affectionate terms. But the occasion is not completely nostalgic. Prayers are raised that God pardon the sins of the dead which might have been considerable.
We believe that God is a merciful father who cares about the fate of His children. Even the people who seem to have defied His goodness are not beyond the scope of our prayer today. After all, only God knows the condition of human hearts - those which may have been so deformed by life’s vagaries that their culpability was muted and those whose last beat may have resounded in contrition.