Gospel: (John 17:24-26)
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said: “Father, those whom you gave me are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”
Remembering our departed loved ones in our prayers on this feast day of “All Souls” is a way of keeping them close to us. Also, praying for the dead, and to the dead, is an important part of the grieving process. Just as we grew in our relationships with out loved ones during their lifetime, so do we continue to deepen our love for them as we remember them in prayer after their death. Praying for the dead reminds us that death isn’t an end but a beginning of new life. Our prayers can be a concrete expression of our belief in everlasting life. (Living Liturgy, p.242)
In reflecting on death, St. Vincent wrote: “All our life is but a moment which flies away and disappears quickly. Alas, the seventy years of my life which I have passed, seem to me but a dream and a moment. Nothing remains of them but regret for having so badly employed this time. Let us think of the dissatisfaction we will have at our death, if we do not use this time to be merciful. Let us then be merciful and let us exercise mercy towards all in a way that we will never find a poor man without consoling him….O Saviour, do not permit that we abuse our vocation. Do not take away from us the spirit of mercy, because what would become of us if You should withdraw your mercy from us. Give us, then, that mercy along with the spirit of gentleness and humility.” (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p.137)
Discussion: (Share your thoughts after a moment of silence)
Who do you remember and pray for especially this “All Souls Day”?
Let us remember our friends and family who have gone before us,
–may they celebrate now in the feast of heaven.
Let us remember those who suffered death in violence and war,
-may they be gently received at the table of love.
Let us remember all the poor who have gone before us,
-may they receive the wine of peace and the bread of life.
Let us remember the members of our Conference who have died,
-may they rest in the mercy of God.