My brothers and sisters in Christ, yesterday, we were gathered to commemorate All Saints' day. Today, we are celebrating All Souls' day, also known as the "Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed."
Since both of these liturgical celebrations concern the departed,
some of you may ask yourselves, "What is the difference between
these two days?" On All Saints' day, we commemorate those who are
in Heaven, those who are presently enjoying the beatified vision of
God in their eternal glory.
All Souls' day, the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed is
based on the theological basis that some of those who
have departed from this world, they have not been perfectly
cleansed from venial sin, or have not fully atoned for their past
transgression. As such, being temporary deprived of the beatified
vision until such time as they have been completely sanctified in
Christ, these departed souls are to remain in Purgatory. To assist
them so that they may be freed from Purgatory, we, their spiritual
brothers and sisters in Christ, can help the Faithful Departed who
are also members of the Body of Christ, through our prayers, our
alm deeds and most important of all, through the sacrifice of the
As members and living stones of the Mystical Body of Christ, we as
the saints on earth, alongside with the saints in Purgatory and
those in Heaven, await the glorious day when our Redeemer shall
make His final appearance on earth, at which time the resurrection
of the physical bodies shall take place.
Each is resurrected in his own order. Christ was the First Fruit
to be raised from the dead. Then at His coming, those who belong
to Him. For Christ is the first of many to follow. As death came
upon the world through Adam, eternal life comes upon the saints
through the Lord Jesus.
In the Gospel of John, verse 12:24-26, we read, "Very truly, I
tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it
remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in
this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must
follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever
serves me, the Father will honour."
In this parable of the grain of wheat, Jesus was speaking of
spiritual death. Because death came into the world through Adam,
all human beings, contaminated by the ugliness of sin, are called
to spiritually die. But, by being born again through Christ
through the Sacrament of Baptism, they inherit the promise of
eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
During the Sacrament of Baptism, the believer dies alongside Jesus
to be raised with Christ as a new creation of the godly seed. Then
the believer is adopted into the Body of Christ, this qualifying
him to receive the salvation that comes through Christ.
As the grain of wheat falls in the earth and dies, the believer
must die through the water of Baptism and the power of the
Holy Spirit. As the grain of wheat bears much fruit after death,
those who are born again in Christ are called to persevere in their
living faith so they may shine in spiritual works through the power
of the Holy Spirit, this labour being the fruits of their holiness.
Having received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, a new heart and
a new spirit, a believer is no longer the same anymore.
Through the gift of the new life that we have received in Christ,
we now belong to Christ. Before, we were slaves to sin; now, we
are slaves to Christ. Before, we were worldly; now, we are
spiritual. Before, we strived for the better things of the world;
now, we strive for the glory of God in all things.
To strive for the glory of God in all things, we must renounce the
world and its imperfect ways. For the worldly ways oppose the
spiritual ways. As saints and children of God through our new
birth, our eyes must be fixed on Jesus and the invisible Kingdom of
God. We must live as members of the invisible Kingdom of God so we
may shine as bright lights in the world. If we love our lives and
the worldly ways, we will lose our salvation. But if we reject the
worldly ways by setting our eyes on Jesus, we will keep our life in
Christ who is our assurance of salvation.
To keep our life in Christ, we must persevere in our living faith.
We must remain loyal to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic
Church. We must obey the teachings of the Church. We must receive
the Sacraments of the Church. We must love our brothers and
sisters as we love Jesus. In all our thoughts, words and actions,
we must shine in humility, obedience and servitude. Through such,
it will be witnessed by others that we follow Jesus where He is.
In the end, because we have served Jesus, God the Father will seal
our adoption as children of His eternal Kingdom.
Today, the Church commands us to remember the faithful departed.
In obedience, we do so, praying that when we have departed from
this world, others will remember us, pray for us, make sacrifices
on our behalf, and most important of all, have Holy Masses
celebrated on our behalf so we may quickly be assured the eternal
beatified vision of God. But for now, let us remember the faithful
departed so what we do on their behalf may be done on our behalf
when and if ever we are in need of our earthly brothers and sisters