This Friday, November 11, is Veterans Day – an occasion to remind ourselves of the importance to honor all those who have risked life, limb, and mind for their country because freedom isn’t free. While joining the rest of the nation in commemorating this day typically with military-themed ceremonies, we bring all of these heroes and heroines in prayer to God at all the Masses next weekend.
Last Sunday evening, we had a special Mass in memory of all those who passed away this year. We had about 75 names that were read out. A small candle was lit for each of them. Family members brought pictures of their beloved departed and you can see them on the back walls of the church. We acknowledge the sadness of their no longer being physically amongst us, and yet take hope and trust as our faith teaches. At every funeral Mass I love to use the Preface I where it says: “Indeed for your faithful, Lord, life is changed not ended, and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust, an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven.” St. Paul warns us that we must not be ignorant concerning the dead, nor sorrowful, “even as others who have no hope … For the Lord Himself shall come down from heaven … and the dead who are in Christ shall rise.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
On All Souls Day, November 2, we prayed for all the departed souls. We know that the whole month of November is traditionally a time in which the Catholic community remembers those who have died. It is related to the fact that the end of November is the end of the Liturgical Year with a new year starting the First Sunday of Advent – the four-week period of preparation before Christmas.
The mention of Christmas reminds us how fast the time passes. In the liturgical calendar the first Sunday of Advent this year is on November 27 – earlier than usual! If you find that time is moving too quickly, and you’d like to slow it down a bit, I find the only way is to follow the method that Jesus is asking us in the beatitudes. He begins each beatitude with “Blessed are you…….” and not “Blessed you will be….” I believe Jesus was very intentional in directing us to be in the present moment. Probably you have heard this saying repeated to us: “Yesterday is history tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift that’s why we call it the present!” We have only the present moment at hand and how we deal with it will determine not only our joy and sadness but also the pace of our life. Once we live in the moment, we will be able to take one thing at a time, one day at time. No wonder Jesus included “Give us this day our daily bread” in the only prayer he taught us to pray!
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal