Scripture: Lectionary for Commemoration of All Souls, Nov. 2, 2013. Wisdom 3:1-9. Psalm 23:1-6. Romans 5:5-11. John 6:37-40:
My mother Helen died in 1986. I always call my brother Jim to hear of some of mom’s sayings and doings. He lived with her for most of his life, while I was busy as a Marianist teaching and administering sacraments and doing spiritual direction with a good number of persons. Besides calling on the anniversaries of the death of mom and that of dad, I learned much from Jim about them and his relationship with them. He was a God-send for them and for me in that he was most attentive to their needs and was a provider through his salary. Mom’s birthday is on this date, November 2, the Feast of the Commemoration of all the Faithfull Departed. She had this way of reminding us it was her birthday by saying, “Please, pray for me a “Poor Soul”—the common way of speaking about this day among many older Catholics. I always laugh when I think of her expression for her birthday. Of course I did and do pray for her and always will.
Today all of us Catholics celebrate the Eucharist while recalling our departed loved ones and for all the souls who have been known to us and passed on to the kingdom of God as the ones who have gone before us with the sign of faith. We remind ourselves that we are united with Christ in his death in order to be one with him in his resurrection. Life continues as transformed and changed but not taken away from us who were created in the eternal image of God and are made in his likeness (Genesis 1:27).
This made me ponder over the phrase the “Mystery of Faith” which is said or chanted by the celebrant at Mass with several possible responses that put us directly into the Paschal Mystery of Christ, for example, “We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your resurrection, until you come again.”
My thoughts and prayers led me to pray Jesus last prayer called his priestly prayer in chapter 17. I stopped and meditated on the striking words of the Lord that confirm our belief in what this particular commemoration is really about. This was his way of telling us why we should not be afraid of the mystery of our death. In another of his most intimate words he says, “Father, I desire that those also whom you have given me, may be with me where I AM to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” (John17:24). May all the souls of the faithful departed rest in the peace and comfort of Jesus’ last prayer. He continues that prayer each day for you and me.”
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.