2nd November 2020

Monday, The Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed (All Souls)
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Wis 3:1-9;
Ps 23:1-6;
1 Cor 15:51-57;
Mt 11:25-30
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LORD, HAVE MERCY ON THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED
God is perfect and nothing that is imperfect can stand before him. Our faith teaches us that a person who dies in a state of perfect grace and communion with God goes to heaven, and all of us long for it. Those who die in a state of mortal sin are naturally condemned by their own choices, which lead them to eternal damnation. However, those who are free of mortal sin, but still in a state of venial sin are in need of purification, and must go through purgatory to become worthy of that heavenly kingdom. In other words, those who die without attaining full sanctification and moral perfection, a requirement to enter heaven, are purified and sanctified in purgatory.

These souls wait for our prayers to render them holy. We remember the paralytic who could not come to Jesus to be healed but was brought by his friends, and the concern of his friends gave the paralytic the grace of healing. In the same way, the Church Suffering i.e. the souls in purgatory, during the time of their purification expect help from us as they are our brothers and sisters. All Souls Day is a holy day set aside to pray for these brothers and sisters of ours in need. Praying for the dead comes from ancient tradition, which finds its roots in the second book of the Maccabees (12:45) where Judas Maccabeus makes an offering of reconciliation so that the dead would be forgiven of their sin.

In the present day, with the celebration of Halloween (the day of the sacred spirits) and the popularity of the ‘zombie’ culture, All Souls Day has succumbed to misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Halloween, though of Christian origin in Scotland, in the present times, is considered as the day when the dead come to visit the world. But All Souls Day which we commemorate is a day of prayers for the dead, not a day when our dead family members come to see us. With all these external celebrations advertised and popularized by the media and profiting businesses, one might find it difficult to understand the importance of All Souls Day. Some might even question its validity and authenticity.

Jesus, in the Gospel of the day, thanks God for revealing the great mysteries to the little ones and hiding them from the wise and learned. In other words, we need simple faith and trust to believe in such great, yet relevant, mysteries. Or else, because of the pride of our intellect and tepidity of our faith, we might be led into error. A true, simple faith will bring us to a real experience of the divine mysteries, as happened to many saints like St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, St. Catherine of Genoa and St. Lidwina of Schiedam, and will enhance our prayer for the souls in need. It is a higher form of wisdom which is gained by a person with true experience, as the first reading of the day teaches us, in speaking about the way of the wise. Though there is suffering and testing in the life of the wise man, God has not abandoned him, but has found him worthy of his heavenly Kingdom. Many others think that the wise man is cursed and the way he lives is foolish, but the wise knows that to be worthy of that kingdom he has to be purified and rendered holy.

St Paul, in the second reading of the day, from his first letter to the Corinthians, reminds us that ‘death has been swallowed up in victory’ by our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, all our prayers for the faithful departed should be raised to the Father through the sacred heart of Jesus. Thus, let us pray:

O gentle heart of Jesus, ever present in the Blessed Sacrament, ever consumed with burning love for the poor captive souls in purgatory, have mercy on them. Be not severe in your judgments, but let some drops of your precious blood fall upon the devouring flames. And, Merciful Saviour, send your angels to conduct them to a place of refreshment, light and peace. Amen.

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Responsorial Psalm: The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want

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