Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Commemoration of All the Faithfully Departed

(John 6:37-40)

We have all seen them – crosses with artificial flowers, an altar on the roadside.  Sometimes there is an inscription like, “To our Rene; we will never forget you.”  Obviously the altar serves as a reminder of a beloved dead person who was killed in a traffic accident.  The person was likely young, perhaps driving too fast or when sleepy.  We don’t know although the victim’s loved will never forget.  Today, All Souls Day, we pray especially for those who have suffered accidental deaths and countless others.

The “Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed” has been celebrated in the Church for centuries.  It provides us an opportunity to pray for the dead who had difficulty living up to the high standards set by Jesus in the gospel.  The day also gives us pause to consider our own eventual deaths.  Will we be remembered principally for our adherence to Christ or will our faults predominate? 

In today’s gospel Jesus says that he was sent to save all who believe in him.  Surely believing in Jesus means more than paying him lip service. Some may try to beat death with empty words as others try to beat a prison sentence with lies.  But even for those of us who are trying to live good lives, our behavior often falls short of perfection. For this reason we pray today for God’s mercy on all who have died.