2/11/2009. All Souls day- A reflection
My dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, whenever we remember the departed brothers and sisters, especially the person that very close to us, perhaps the thing that remember most is his death, we remember how the person died, or we will remember the date when that person died. In my own memory, when I recall how my father passed away 6 years ago, one thing that I remember most was the day of his funeral. After the funeral by 3pm, I rushed back to the parish where I was for another big celebration, the Mass on Christmas eve. So, I have only few hours to adjust myself, from painful to joyful event. That was part of the memory. There are lots of thing to remember for those person who have died. For today, as we commemorate the departed brothers and sister, I would like to mention three important points.
1. First and fore most, All souls day is a day of faith. We express our faith and hope for the resurrection. Not just for the sake of the memory itself on how the person departed, but celebrating our hope for them that their soul may rest in peace. “We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.” This is what we profess in the Apostolic creed. The word “Amen” here is our commitment that we really believe and hope for the life to come.
The three readings of today emphasized the faith and hope for resurrection of the dead: Isaiah 25: 6-9-The Lord will destroy Death for ever. It is the Lord is the one in whom we hoped. Roman 5:5-11, St. Paul tells us that we have confidence, we have hope through Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation. The gospel of Mark demonstrates the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is a summary of our faith: Christ has died, risen, and will come again. No one can explain exactly how he rose from the dead, and now one can explain on how will he come again. These are belongs to faith. So, we renew our union with Christ, our faith and hope in him.
2. Today is a day of memory. We remember the departed brothers and sisters. We recall these people whose lives have deeply affected us, people who have traveled a part of Life’s journey with us. We remember them not as perfect being but as human persons with limitation much like we have. We express our closeness with them. We pray for them ask our concern and solidarity with them, to show that we are one family with the living and the death. Death is not final. It is the will of the Father, as mentioned by Jesus, that he will raise us up on the last day. We ask God to strengthen our hope that all our departed brothers and sisters will share in his resurrection
3. Today is to remind ourselves that one day we will depart. Can I imagine how will be my own death? Nowadays, people seemed to think less about death. If someone died in the family, for example, they prefer to stay away and let the funeral care-taker to take care for the burial. Some people would give the best decoration and setting for the grave as if there is no more pain. No matter how, we cannot avoid the grave. We cannot escape from death. But then, in the other hand, there are also people that eager to die soon. Some priest that I know they have already book their own grave. Yesterday, I went to the grave yard and I saw there are few empty tomb, next to Fr. Pang who died recently. These must be reserved for the priest, or bishop. There was one time, when a priest asked the Archbishop to reserve one for him and the Archbishop replied, “No booking, first come first serve”.
But how do we prepare for our departure? We must die with Christ if we wish to live with him. St. Paul says: “For me, to live is Christ and die is gain”. We are not ready “to die” if we are not ready “to live”. Thus, we need to live the best we can in every moment of our life, and let tomorrow take care itself. We are only to live day by day in faith with good works, with love and with hope.