(Any Readings from the Masses for the Dead, Lectionary, vol. 4)
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day, 'Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.'
The Lord is my light and my help;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
before whom shall I shrink? (R./)
There is one thing I ask of the Lord,
for this I long,
to live in the house of the Lord,
all the days of my life,
to savour the sweetness of the Lord,
to behold his temple. (R./)
O Lord, hear my voice when I call;
have mercy and answer.
It is your face, O Lord, that I seek;
hide not your face. (R./)
I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness
in the land of the living.
Hope in him, hold firm and take heart.
Hope in the Lord! (R./)
Jesus said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o'clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, "Listen, he is calling for Elijah." And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down." Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, "Truly this man was God's Son!"
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day, the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?" When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him.
"See what love the Father has bestowed on us." The Halloween combinatrion of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, reminds us of the reality of death and life after death. These days are a sad reminder that our bodies will one day give out. Somewhere, sometime, sooner or later, we will experience the startling reality of death. Then what? Is it all over for the individual? Nothing but extinction, absolute silence, darkness? Will there be no more love, no more joy, no more laughter?
Jesus says there is a future. He walked through the doors of suffering and a violent death to come back and say there is light, there is love and laughter and rejoicing, there is a life beyond your dreams and imagination. Jesus offers hope for those who strike out when they come to bat in this life. What does this feast ask of us? Be grateful for what you have. Show your appreciation. How? See the love that is there. See what love the Father has bestowed on us!
Why do we pray for the Dead? It's based on the kind of belief and hope taught by Jesus himself. He once said: "All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out." Today the Church is asking us to pray in a special way for all the deceased, for all those whom we knew, but also for all those who died without the news of their disappearance ever being communicated to us.
Whereas we know only a minute part of this multitude of people who died since the creation of the world, our creator-God knows them all, and each one in their individuality. God knows all things: he knows what we are doing now because he watches us, he listens to us, he waits for us to turn to him with the simplicity of a child who confides in his Father full of love and tenderness! "And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day."
Jesus could not lose those who are given to him and who are guarded by his Holy Spirit! If during our life on earth, a man or woman remains firmly united to Christ by faith, hope, and charity, how could it happen that Jesus would lose him or her - If as Christians we remains faithful to the Spirit who stays in ua, then Jesus will raise ua up at the last day!
Today we are remembering those we have known and loved -- family members and good friends. Indeed, the whole month of November is a time when we remember our dead in a special way. As Christians, our remembering of those who have died is always a prayerful remembering. We remember them before the Lord. Remembering our departed loved ones before the Lord, praying for them, is one of the ways we give expression to our ongoing communion with them in the Lord. We believe that they are with the Lord, and that the Lord is also with us in this life. It is that shared relationship with the Lord which keeps us in communion with our loved ones who have died. In praying for our loved one, we ask the Lord to bring them to the fullness of life, as he brought the widow's son to life in today's gospel. We also pray in thanksgiving for them, thanking God for the gift of their lives and for all the ways the Lord blessed us through them. Today, we entrust our loved ones who have died to God. As "God's love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us," we pray that they would experience that love to the full.