All Souls Day

Isaiah 25: 6-9
Luke 7: 11-17


Today the church commemorates all soul’s day. Traditionally it has been a significant day for Catholics to pray for the departed ones in the families and communities. Back home in India on this day people visit cemeteries. Clean up the tomb. Decorate them with flowers. Celebrate Eucharist in the cemetery chapel. And gather around the tomb as a family and offer prayers.

According to the resurrection account in the gospel of Matthew the angel of the Lord sends the women at the tomb with a message to other disciples. The women left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy. Why fear? Why joy? Fear and joy: two opposite emotions. St. Jerome would say: the intensity and the scale of the miracle of resurrection caused fear. The fulfilment of the longing for the resurrection caused joy.

What’s our response when we think of death. Fear or joy?

Jesus said, anyone who believes in me even though they die they live.

Praying for the departed souls is a matter of faith. It’s not a topic for intellectual arguments. In faith we pray for our sisters and brothers that they may Rest In Peace. In this way we stay connected to our dear ones in the world that we are yet to experience.

May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God Rest In Peace.

Justin Durai Raj CP is a member of the Passionist community at St. Joseph’s, Hobart.