Gospel: Lk 14: 25-33
Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”
IN DEATH WE RISE: One of the most fundamental features of our Catholic faith is the belief in the communion between the living and the dead. Today we express our communion with those who are still in the process of purification before the beatific vision. The bonds of love between the living and the dead are not broken by death. Our love for each other endures. The Word of God today gives us comfort, hope and strength as we move forward in our pilgrimage of faith. In the first reading, Isaiah speaks prophetically of the renewal of Israel through the pain of the exile. Pope Francis also reminds us that our departed brothers and sisters are in heaven because they are washed by the blood of Christ. Let us live our lives in the Lord so that when we die, we shall live in heaven with Him.
PRAYER: Eternal rest grant unto our departed brothers and sisters, O Lord.
STEPPING INTO A WORLD OF UNBOUNDED EXISTENCE: A positive vibe, a sense of joy and optimism about those who went before us pervades the reality of Christian life here on earth. This is the world that should guide our life here on earth. It cannot be a world beyond the dark curtains of death. It is not just another world away and apart from this one. If Jesus had died and won victory over death, here we hope to pass on to another realm of life where we are offered unbounded existence. The raising of the young man of Naim and Lazarus in the Gospel are instances of calling someone back into earthly life. But Christian death is an opening of the gate, a passage into a glorious tomorrow. The challenge is: if one takes this reality quite seriously, if one measures up to that world while we are still here.
PRAYING WITH THE LIVING DEAD: Often, we refer to this day as an occasion to pray for the dead. It is also possible to look at it as a day of praying with the living dead. The commemoration of the dead in the Catholic tradition reminds us that those who have gone before us are living, and we can share in their longing for God. Our own desire for God here and now, our own spiritual exercises, and our sacrifices have an impact on them because we are praying with them. We can make up on their behalf what might have been lacking in their earthy lives. Our love for them today is expressed by our participation in their longing to share in the beatific vision of God. “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (CCC 1030).