The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls Day)
(Wisdom 3:1-9; Romans 5:5-11; John 6:37-40)
Life for us who know Christ may be thought of as a pilgrimage. We are destined for the sanctuary where our Lord abides. On the way we meet many other pilgrims whose company we enjoy for a while. Then they depart from us into the night that surrounds the pilgrimage. We will meet other fellow-travelers with whom we also pray and sing until finally it is our turn to depart from the pilgrimage.
Where do the pilgrims who drop out of the procession go? Do they find a shortcut to the sanctuary at the pilgrimage’s end? Or are they lost in oblivion? Some of these possessed virtues that shined like torches to light their way. Others, to the contrary, had hidden faults that caused them to stumble. They were too quickly embittered with life’s vicissitudes. Or they gave into the temptations of the flesh.
It is for these departed pilgrims, whom we will someday join, that we pray today. We ask God to forgive them their transgressions so that they may reach the journey’s end. We also pray for newcomers to the pilgrimage. We want them to be faithful and perhaps to pray for us when we depart into the night.