Sunday, November 2, 2014

Eternal Rest Grant Unto Them O Lord

The Solemnity of All Souls celebrates God's love and mercy, and recognizes that our gracious God invites us into the fullness of salvation.  We call to mind our brothers and sisters who have died, and we pray for them, as they prepare, through purgatory, to enter into heaven.  Our understanding of Purgatory is that it is that space by which we are wholly made ready to share eternal glory with the Father in heaven.

This day asks us to consider our own death, but also to consider the action and activity of Jesus Christ in the Paschal Mystery.   John's gospel will remind us that God "so loved the world," that by his Son Jesus, who entered our human condition, we have participation in the salvation that has been promised to us.  At the funeral Mass we consider the Eucharist to be that sign and symbol of God's great care and mercy.  But also by the very nature of the Mass, we pray for the deceased and ask God to receive our loved one, forgive their Sins, and unite them to the eternal Kingdom.

We might reflect that the funeral Mass is a celebration of the resurrection and not a celebration of the individuals life.  In Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist we have a union and unity with God the Father.  St. Paul will remind us that the love of God the Father cannot be taken from us.  But in that same understanding we must be open to receive the mercy offered us.

We are on the same journey of faith with our loved ones.  We now take responsibility to pray with them.  We are not people without hope.  Jesus Christ unfolded before us the mystery of the Father.  As children of God we have oneness with God.  It is that confidence and faith which allows us to remain firm and serene in the face of death, knowing that Christ has conquered  and we are promised a place in the Kingdom of Heaven.

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