November 2, 2008 All Souls Year A

Scripture: Lamentations 3:17-26
2 Cor.4:14-5:1
John 6:37-40
Today is All Souls' Day.  It is a special day in the Catholic Church when we pray for our dead. In Scripture (2 Macchabees 12:45) we read: "it is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead".  In the ancient second Eucharistic Prayer we pray: "bring all the departed into the light of your presence! We pray:"Rest in Peace" (R.I.P.)
The Japanese Bishops in their guideline pamphlet (1985) tell us not to forget to pray also for our non-Christian relatives and friends.  The 4th Commandment tells us to honour our father and mother.  This honour continues after their deaths by praying for them.  Praying for the dead is part of love of neighbour.
The keyword in this prayer is God's loving-mercy.  We who remain living can sometimes discover the deep meaning of God's loving-mercy when we pray for our dead.  We pray that God our Father will pour out His loving-mercy over our own loved ones.
Gratitude is also the basis of our prayer for the dead.  When I go home to visit I always go to my parents' and grand parents' and friends' graves and stand before them and say "Thank you".  To make my prayer more focused I recall some concrete good thing. And for those I hurt I say "Sorry". They are still alive in God's care so I can talk to them personally.
Hope is another basis of our prayer.  Jesus rose from the dead.  He is the first, we all in turn follow Him.  Jesus tells us that death is not the end of life, it is only the change-over point to a new, glorious, eternal life in the happiness of God's company, when "he will wipe away our every tear" (Isa.25:8, Rev.7:17&21:4).
Let us pray for our dead by recalling God's loving-mercy (read Luke 15 to realize the depth of it).
Let us pray in gratitude and with hope.

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