By Fr. Frank J. Timar, MSC
The second day of November is a day of remembrance. It’s a bittersweet day. It’s a somber day and sad day for many, but also a day of promise. We know it as the feast of All Souls Day. It’s better named the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed. This is the day we remember those dear people who have been a part of our lives, who have passed from this world on their journey to God, a journey still to be completed.
What a wonderful opportunity to remember the faces and names of those we honor and for whom we pray! For many of us, because we were so connected with them, our celebration can sadden us. It is never easy to let go of those whom we love. This feast day teaches us what the heart and substance of our faith as Christians is: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”
On this day, we remember the encouraging words of Jesus: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart. And your souls will find rest for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus’ words are consoling words because He really meant every word. Notice that he doesn’t say that if we are good people or if we say a lot of prayers, we will never have a cross to carry or a burden to bear, but He invites us to come to Him with our struggles and pain, and He will give us rest.” Jesus’ words are most helpful because we know that Jesus experienced life as we do. He was a good man, totally innocent, and in love with everyone, even His enemies who condemned Him unjustly to death on a cross.
God chose to have His Son become and live a totally human life with its pain and betrayals and injustice and finally to suffer and die with and for us, so that in our pain and suffering we would know that our God understands. Jesus rose from the dead three days later and promised the same gift of the resurrection to all who live and die believing in him.
Our faith won’t take away the pain that comes from grief, but it does have the power to help us make sense of why we feel the presence of our loved ones, and why we choose to pray for them. It affirms what all of us believe, even if we cannot understand – that there is more to this world than we can see and touch.
This is a day to affirm our belief in the power of Christ’s resurrection, as we pray for our loved ones who have died. Because we believe in the power of the resurrection and life eternal, our prayers for our brothers and sisters bind them to us and us to them.
“Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” This is an assurance that we will likewise rise because we walk with faith in the power of Christ, a faith which ties us together as one in this life and into eternity.