THURSDAY, THIRTIETH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed
Wis 3:1-9; Ps 23: 1-6; Rom 5: 5-11/6:3-9; Jn 6:37-40
THE WAITING ROOM
Today is a day, where we all remember our departed loved ones, who were so close to us in this earthly life physically, and are no more with us. But their physical absence has not taken them away from our hearts and memories, and above all, we all believe in the eternal life that Jesus has promised to all of us. Praying for the dead has been a catholic traditional practice imploring God, to forgive the sins of the departed brethren and to grant them the eternal bliss in heaven.
It is a holy and pious thought to pray for the dead (2 Mac 12:44- 45). Because those in heaven or in hell don’t benefit from our prayers, this implies that not everyone immediately goes to heaven or hell after they die. Therefore, when we pray for the dead, we are praying for people in some other place, which we call purgatory. It is a place of purging and purification. “Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them” (Wis 3:5-6).
In the New Testament, the Lord suggests the existence of some place other than heaven or hell. Jesus went to “preach to the spirits in prison,” who “had disobeyed as long ago as Noah’s day” (1 Pet 3:19-20; see also 1Pet 4:6). These passages refer to a place after death other than heaven or hell. Paul also mentions the Corinthians’ practice of having themselves baptized on behalf of the dead (1Cor 15:29). The most likely translation of this passage implies there is some place other than heaven or hell.
We know from early Christian art that the Church of New Testament times prayed for the dead. We should do likewise, for it is a holy and pious thought to pray for the dead and an act of faith in the resurrection of the dead. Death is not an end in itself rather a step to enter into a new glorified life. God does not abandon us to the realm of the dead. One of the greatest examples of faith and hope in the promise of everlasting life with God is the testimony of Job in the Old Testament. God allowed Job to be tested through great trial, suffering, and the loss of everything he had. In the midst of his sufferings Job did not waver in trusting God. “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another” (Job 19:25-27).
“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in a manner so that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.” This Native American Proverb, gives us a special message to live a life that is full of righteousness. The life of righteousness after the very life of our lord Jesus Christ, the righteous one, is a special call for all of us to live. On earth all of us are living our lives but are we living our lives as righteously as it should be? The very purpose of coming of Immanuel on earth was that all may be saved from sin and live in holiness. But am I that human who existed before the time of Jesus? Of course, not at all, we know who Jesus is and what he expects from us. We belong to Christ, and He to us, each day we live in His holy presence, and be in touch with him always. Today as the universal church celebrates All Souls Day, we remember to pray for our beloved people who have lived a worthy life of holiness and righteousness, who have pleased their creator on earth and today who are on their spiritual journey towards the same creator.
Pope Francis said, in life “we are in the waiting room of the world,” hoping to hear Jesus say, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Are we blessed by our Heavenly Father? When we know ourselves or realized what we are in reality then we will know the power of mercy of God and the need of prayer for our souls. Our death is not the end but the answer to our self-realization. Our focus is ‘my creator and me’ and not the creation.
Response: The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want
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