HOMILY FOR ALL SOULS DAY.
THEME: OUR HOPE IS FULL OF IMMORTALITY.
BY: Fr. Karabari Paul.
HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 2 2022.
‘Hope does not disappoint us’.
All Souls Day is a holy day set aside for honouring the dead. The day is primarily celebrated in the Catholic Church, but it is also celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church and a few other denominations of Christianity. The Anglican church is the largest protestant church to celebrate the holy day. Most protestant denominations do not recognize the holiday and disagree with the theology behind it.
According to Catholic belief, the soul of a person who dies can go to one of three places. The first is heaven, where a person who dies in a state of perfect grace and communion with God goes. The second is hell, where those who die in a state of mortal sin are naturally condemned by their choice. The intermediate option is purgatory, which is thought to be where most people, free of mortal sin, but still in a state of lesser (venial) sin, must go.
Purgatory is necessary so that souls can be cleansed and perfected before they enter into heaven. There is scriptural basis for this belief. The primary reference is in 2 Maccabees, 12:26 and 12:32. “Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out… Thus made atonement for the dead that they might be free from sin.”
Additional references are found in Zechariah, Sirach, and the Gospel of Matthew. Jewish tradition also reinforces this belief as well as the tradition and teaching of the Church, which has been affirmed throughout history.
Consistent with these teachings and traditions, Catholics believe that through the prayers of the faithful on Earth, the dead are cleansed of their sins so they may enter into heaven. Praying for the dead is one of the spiritual works of mercy. This act brings alive the memories and love once shared.
The souls here are the “Church Suffering,” waiting for what we, the “Church Militant,” would do to alleviate their suffering so that they might join the saints in heaven, the “Church Triumphant.”
The First Reading from the Book of Wisdom (3:1-9) gives us a very good reason to pray for the dead. The desire of God has always been to place the soul of man beyond destruction. But this privilege belongs to only those judged righteous. Only the foolish think that “their going forth from us [is] utter destruction.” We grieve over their death; their passing is our loss. But is it their loss? They have hope that is “full of immortality.” In other words, their hope cannot be extinguished by death.
God is a gentle shepherd who leads us through the dark valley. There is no fear here, only trust and courage. Even in the face of death, we nurse no fear.
Paul (Romans 5:5-11) too speaks of hope, a hope grounded in God’s love. He insists that we have every reason to hope, for if Jesus died for us when we were still sinners, how much more can we expect from God now that we have been made righteous through the shedding of Jesus’ blood
In the Gospel (John 6:37-40), Jesus offers the most reliable words of consolation. In Him no one is ever lost or rejected. “And this is the will of Him who sent me that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day.” What God creates, God loves; and what God loves, God loves eternally. Without this singular act of the Father, our hope will be useless. But it forms the foundation for our individual and collective struggles on earth.
All Souls’ Day is an occasion on which all Catholics are able to put into practice that “fundamental conviction” with a love that not even death can destroy. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace! Amen! Good morning.