The days are getting shorter and the temperatures noticeably lower. Along with the earlier dusk and chillier weather, the green foliage of summer, so full and exuberant only a few weeks ago, suddenly looks dull and withered. Here and there the winds playfully swirl about to scatter the falling leaves. Fall has arrived. Nature has its way of reminding us of the seasonal rhythm that it adheres to so religiously. In a very special way, it also reminds us of our loved ones who have departed….
Quite fittingly, the Church chooses to commemorate the departed faithful at this time of the year. Those of us whose heartstrings are pulled by the melancholy of the rhythm of nature to miss their departed ones will find comfort in the gospel reading of the Feast of All Souls, in which Jesus promises resurrection and eternal life for “everyone who sees the Son and believes in him” (Jn 6:40). Our hope, steadfast as it is, is rooted in Jesus’ own resurrection. As St. Paul explains so convincingly in the second reading, if death cannot overpower Christ, the Son of God, we know that it has also lost its jurisdiction over the “sons of God” whose adopted sonship is granted because of their faith in Christ.
The departed ones may look like the fallen leaves that we step on at this time of the year – nothing but decay, destitution, and utter destruction – and yet “they are in peace…they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself” (Wis 3:3, 5).
This Sunday when we celebrate the All Souls Day, our hearts go out to those who are grieving their departed family members and friends; especially to those whose loved ones have recently passed away. Let us pray in one accord for the repose of their souls…
(The above is a reflection on the Mass Readings of the 31st Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year A, Feast of All Souls – November 2, 2014: Wis 3:1-9; Rom 6:3-9; Jn 6:37-40)