We are entering the month of November that reminds us so much about death and life after death. This evening we are having a special Memorial Mass for family and friends of those who passed away this year. Having it on a Sunday makes it easier for people to attend. Tomorrow, Monday, is Halloween. Tuesday is All Saints Feast. Wednesday is All Souls Remembrance Day.
For us Catholics, Halloween, All Saints Day, All Souls Day and the whole of November are opportunities with two goals: first, to really think about, cherish and remember our loved ones who are departed from earth; and second, to reflect on our own mortality and the meaning of death as a gateway to the next world. That’s why this evening we will have a special Mass to remember our departed ones. Bringing their photos to church will help us remember them as a community. The candles lit in their memory will help us surrender them to God who has welcomed them into heaven. Offering prayers help us to thank God for the blessing of their lives in which we too shared. These will also remind us about the reality of death – a topic we rather not think about!
This season of Fall offers us a pageantry for our senses with the vibrantly colored leaves; but the falling leaves remind us of the completion of the cycle of life – a living metaphor for death that will happen to all of us. Bible often calls it with a very pleasant term ‘sleep’ and even Jesus used that term regarding his friend Lazarus who actually had died. See John 11:11-14. St. Paul spoke about those who are alive and those who are asleep (referring to the dead) in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. Yes we don’t need to be afraid of death because Jesus conquered death through his resurrection. It is a guarantee for us to think of death as a passage to the life of eternity, to join the “communion of saints” a doctrine that reminds us of rejoining with our dear departed ones who are with God.
We have three Masses on Tuesday, the feast of All Saints: 8 am, 12:10 pm and 7:30 pm. Please try to attend one of these because this feast is a happy reminder to us of the many saints who lived with and before us, making our lives meaningful. There is also a 9 am Mass for the School, (the Grandfriends Mass). This feast of All Saints also reminds us of our own call to holiness. No wonder, St Paul was fond of calling his parishioners “saints” as in 2 Corinthians 1:1: “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia.” Coming together and celebrating our own God-given goodness of serving God in the People of God of our community is truly a sign of who we are – saints!
Happy Feast to you all saints!
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal
Please note: This Friday is First Friday, and so our 8 am Mass is followed by Holy Hour, Sacred Heart devotions and Benediction. Most welcome to join.