THE COMMEMORATION OF THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED (ALL SOULS)
wisdom 3:1-9; romans 5:5-11; john 6:37-40
a dying man was scared about death. he asked his doctor—a christian—about what lay beyond. just then the doctor heard a scratching at the door. he paused and said: «do you hear that? it’s my dog. i left him downstairs, but he has grown impatient, and has come up. he has no idea what lies beyond the door, but he knows that his master is here. it is the same with me! i don’t know what lies beyond the door of death, but i know my master is there» (cf. bruce shelley, «christian theology in plain language»).
this is what christian faith and the readings for all souls’ day affirm: beyond the tomb, lies our master waiting to welcome us to our eternal dwelling.
the first reading from the book of wisdom is emphatic: «the souls of the just are in the hand of GOD… they are in peace.»
st paul assures the romans: «since we are now justified by his blood, we will be saved through him from the wrath» and «we shall… be united with him in the resurrection.»
in the gospel, JESUS promises the crowds: «everyone who sees the SON and believes in him
will have eternal life, and i shall raise him on the last day.»
shortly before he died, jean-paul sartre—the atheist philosopher—declared he had strong feelings of despair and he would say to himself: «i know i shall die in hope.» then in profound sadness, he would add: «but hope needs a foundation.»
christian hope has a foundation: the death and resurrection of JESUS.
does my hope have this strong foundation? do i believe that my dear departed are at peace in the hand of GOD and will be raised on the last day?
eternal rest grant unto them, o LORD; and let perpetual light shine upon them. may they rest in peace. amen.