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Bishop Burbidge's All Souls Day Homily (VIDEO)

11/5/2014

Feast of All Souls

Sacred Heart Cathedral

November 2, 2014

The Feast of All Souls is a reminder of our privilege and duty to pray daily for our deceased family members and friends and all the faithful departed. At this Mass, some parishioners are here praying especially for their family members who have died this past year. Perhaps there are others in this Church, like myself, for whom this is the first All Souls Mass since a parent or family member has died. How blessed we are to have the support of our Church, parish and one another. 

On this solemn day, there is no doubt that all of us who remember our deceased loved ones are filled with varied emotions. There is a certain sadness and longing; there is a spirit of thanks and gratitude as well as a renewed understanding of the challenge we must embrace.

It is quite natural to have a sadness in our hearts as we miss the physical presence and company of those we loved. But it is exactly because of that love we are able to entrust them to God and the abundant blessings that await them in the Kingdom of Heaven. I will never forget my mother at the moment of her death saying, “Let me go to God.” Only love and faith allow us to say “yes” to that request. 

There is a spirit of thanks and gratitude in our hearts today as the Readings for this Mass remind us of those blessings that await the faithful departed. From the Book of Wisdom: “The souls of the just are in the hand of God-----and grace and mercy are with them.”  From Saint Paul: “We who have died with Christ, will also live with Him—death has no power over us.” And from Jesus in today’s Gospel: “Know that I have prepared a place for you....that where I am you also shall be.”

There is a renewed understanding of the challenge that we who have lost loved ones in death must embrace. My father died on the Feast of the Transfiguration, the day the Lord gave His disciples (who were beginning to see defeat in the midst of suffering) a glimpse of His glory. The Lord was transfigured before them on the mountain and the disciples were filled with joy. Yet, they were not able to linger in that moment. They were called to go down from the mountain and go forth to proclaim to others Christ living and reigning.

Our challenge is similar. We cannot simply have heartfelt sentiments for our loved ones. We must go forth daily and imitate their example of faith, goodness, generosity and compassion so that they continue to live on in each one of us as we seek to proclaim Christ as the Way who leads us on the right path; as the Truth who enlightens us and as the Life who sustains us, most especially as we eat His Body and drink His Blood.

At this and every Mass we have the great privilege to pray for the faithful departed and to celebrate the truth that by His cross and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has transformed darkness to glory and death to life.

Thus, with renewed faith, in joyful hope and with great love for our family members and friends who have died, we pray: “Eternal rest grant unto them.....”