Today’s Gospel: John 6:37-40
The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls)
His out-of-the-blue remark caught me by surprise. “I bet I know what my friends in heaven are wearing.” I caught hold of my breath, and with the sting of tears in my eyes, I tried to sound upbeat and normal. “Oh, yeah? What are they wearing?” I could see his face through the rear view mirror; he was still a baby, and his thoughts…I could practically see them coming to life. “I’ll bet the girls are all in big, white, frilly dresses! And you know how Caroline always wore a big bow in her hair? I’ll bet her bow in heaven is all white.” I smiled and nodded but was afraid to open my mouth to speak; I did not want him to hear me cry. But he knew. And in a voice so very matter of fact, he told me, “Mom, it is okay, because my friends? They are in heaven living the real life! We are here on earth just practicing, but they are where we all want to be!”
Every single day I think about the children and teachers we lost that tragic December morning. I can so easily lose myself in the pain, and the fear, and the sadness of such an unspeakable crime. And when I find myself slipping into that dark place of despair, I remember that death is not the end. Death did not win. Our heavenly Father sent us his only Son, gives to us the Holy Spirit, so that death has no hold on us. Eternal life is promised to each and every one of us who loves and believes in Jesus Christ, our Lord. “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.”
No one wants to say goodbye to a loved one, be it a spouse, child, grandparent, unborn baby, mother, father, or friend. It is the one thing we wish we could avoid, and yet, the only thing in life that is a guarantee. The way our hearts miss and ache is so deep, so powerfully strong, you can almost hear the breaking. And yet, buried beneath our sorrow, and drowning in our tears, there is that hope–the hope for life everlasting, the hope that we will be together again, and the knowing that “They are living the real life! We are here on earth just practicing, but they are where we all want to be!”
Have you lost hope in the promise of eternal life? Let’s pray in a special way today for all the souls in heaven, those who have touched our lives and those we do not know, and for all of us who fear death.
Come, Holy Spirit, come! Fill me up with your love and hope. Bless those souls that I am missing so very much today. Hug them and love them and kiss them all over and tell them how much I wish I could touch them…be with them…see them again. And until it is my time, help me to bring about the good of souls, to fulfill my mission here on earth, and to spread the good news of Jesus Christ so that each one of us can look forward to that last day when we are raised up, and we are finally home. Amen.
We thank our friends at The Word Among Us for providing our gospel reflection team with copies of Abide In My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips. To pray the daily gospels with this wonderful resource, visit The Word Among Us.