At the heart of all our worship as Catholic Christians,
we pause to remember…
We remember Christ, and all he did for us;
we remember how he suffered, died and rose for us;
and in word and sacrament,
we remember what he did at table with his disciples
on the night before he died.
Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, then,
we remember someone who has died: our brother, Jesus.
And every time we celebrate the Eucharist
we remember others who have died, too.
You know the words:
"Remember our brothers and sisters
who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again;
bring them and all the departed into the light of your presence…"
We remember all our brothers and sisters in Christ
and not only them but all the departed-everyone who has died -
and we pray that through the mercy and love of God
every one of them will enjoy the light and peace of God, forever.
Of course, when we pray for those who have died
we remember first those whom we loved the most,
those whom we miss the most.
When I pray the remembrance of the dead,
my heart seldom fails to remember my father:
others, too – but always him.
I’m sure there are names that come to your heart, too.
And we pray for them…
But why do we pray for them?
What do we pray for them?
Our knowledge of human frailty and our faith in God’s mercy
teach us that when we die, God might not be quite yet finished
with fashioning us, making us ready for eternal life.
Our whole life on earth is a journey to the dwelling place
Christ has prepared and reserved for us in his Father’s house.
Sometimes we stay right on the path that leads us home
and sometimes we take short cuts or make detours
or even turn around and walk in the other direction!
We need the Lord to direct us from death into life...
So it might be, it might even be likely,
that at the end of our life our rough edges
might need some buffing and polishing.
And so we pray for those who have gone before us
that God bring to completion the good work begun in their lives
while they were still with us.
Of course, many of those whom we remember on All Souls Day
were long ago perfected by God’s mercy
and welcomed to their places in heaven.
We remember and pray for them, too.
Today, and through November,
we remember those who have gone to their rest
in the hope of rising again and all the departed...
And we remember Jesus, our brother, who died for us and rose
and opened the door to his Father’s house
and prepared for each of us a dwelling place in his peace.