Feast of the Holy Souls
As a child, the Feast of the Holy Souls was a day of reflection and solemnity in our home. We remembered family members and friends who had died and shared our memories of them. Extra Masses were offered in the parish inviting the community to pray together and move forward on their sacred journey. Graves in the local cemetery were blessed.
Later as I prayed through the life and mission of St. John the Baptist I was very aware that John’s life was cut short when he preached a Gospel message that Herod did not accept. (Matthew 14:10) With great love, his disciples took his body and laid it in a grave, foreshadowing the burial of Jesus, the Lamb of God who laid down His life for the salvation of the world. As disciples of Jesus, we are asked to speak a Gospel message of compassion and hope to all, especially all who are dying or who mourn.
We remember the elderly who die alone.
Heart-broken parents of miscarried or stillborn babies.
The homeless who die un-mourned on our streets.
Victims of war, famine and disease.
All who are held captive and die in detention centres on the borders of the world.
The many who are trafficked to their death as they seek out a new and better life far from home.
The vulnerable whose lives are lost to suicide.
Victims of knife crime and mass shootings.
All for whom no one remembers to pray - each one is mourned by the God of life and welcomed into the company of holy souls.
We remember all who mourn; the many for whom the pain of loss is so deep that numbness pervades their souls or the well of their tears has run dry.
In faith and trust we believe that today is a day of grace for all as they now share in the eternal banquet with the God of our salvation. We join our prayer with theirs for a more just world where all may live in freedom unafraid of tomorrow.
We rejoice and give thanks. © Siobhan O’Keeffe 2021, all rights reserved