Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, the eve of the Solemnity of All Saints, the All Hallows’ Eve, from which the name Halloween came from, all of us are reminded that as Christians, all of us are called to emulate the good examples of the saints, the blesseds and other holy men and women who had lived their lives virtuously and showed good Christian morality and way of life.
We are all quite familiar with the popular culture of present day Halloween, which came from centuries of distortions and twists of the truth of the Allhallowtide celebration, commemorating the three holy days of the All Hallows’ Eve itself, that is today, and the Solemnity of All Saints, and then lastly, the Feast of All Souls. In the past, certain communities and cultures celebrated the day of the dead, in remembrance of these events, which distortions led to the current secular Halloween.
This is not how we should commemorate this day, which instead should be a time of reflection and rediscovery for us, of the true calling of our Christian faith, and how each and every one of us can follow in the footsteps of the saints and martyrs, all those holy and devoted men and women who had gone before us. They have all shown us how to live as a Christian, to act and behave as a Christian, and to follow God wholeheartedly as Christians ought to do, as is also evident in the Scripture passages used today.
In the first reading today, from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in the city of Ephesus, St. Paul exhorted the faithful to treat one another with respect and with proper dignity given to the other person, and he also mentioned how each parts of the community and the family ought to work with one another in establishing a loving Christian relationship with one another, between parents and children, and between masters and servants.
This came at a time when the general community treated children as insignificant persons, as immature and even easily exploitable, with a large percentage of the children population at work, mostly helping their families, but also a time when children were often not treated with love and care. And because of this lack of love in the relationship within families, between the parents and their children, that was why children also often times treated their parents with contempt.
And for the servants, livelihood was also relatively bad, as they often had to work long hours without adequate food, provisions and rest, and they were often at the mercy of their masters’ desires and will. They were often sold to the highest bidder and when they have outlived their usefulness, they would be mistreated and made to suffer, and cast out even without money or possession on them.
And these are the things and realities which unfortunately still remain in our world today. Parents and children still cannot get along, and even though child labour have been mostly eradicated from many parts of the world, but we see increasingly more and more broken families all over the world, where husband and wife cannot get along and seeking divorce, where children often end up becoming the victim of the divisions and sorrows surrounding all the conflicts.
We also see how people have often been unjustly treated both at workplace and in general livelihood. I am sure we have often witnessed those who abused their wealth, their influence and power in order to gain for themselves selfish benefits at the cost of many others who suffered because of the selfishness of those few who wanted good things for themselves and to satisfy their own wicked desires and greed.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, that is why, in the Gospel passage today, the Lord Jesus said it plainly, that the gateway to the kingdom of God, which is the pathway to salvation and eternal life, is a narrow one. For all the sins we mankind have committed, which many of us have not repented and regretted before God, we fall in further and deeper into even more sins, and from there, to eternal damnation.
But, the many saints of God, those deemed by the Church to be holy and exemplary in their faith and life, are bright stars of hope, amidst the darkness present in this world. And for us Christians, having this immense treasure trove of our predecessors, in all of their inspirational examples and faith, we should be inspired to live our lives more and more, day after day, to be in accordance with what we believe.
And we do not have to start ambitiously. We should start rather, from ourselves and from our families. As mentioned earlier, many of us have experienced troubles and difficulties in our family lives. Unless something is done, the devil will come in and wreak havoc in everything, and the only losers will be us alone. And we can take action by deepening our relationship with God, and also our families and communities with God and one another.
By spending more time in prayer, we attune ourselves more closely to the Lord and we will be able to know and understand His will for us better. And by showing love, care and concern, patience and temperance in our actions, we will be better able to love one another as fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord, and shun all sorts of actions that cause hurt to others and bring benefit only to ourselves.
Let us all renew our faith, and reflect on our lives thus far, thinking of what we can and should do, in order to serve the Lord more wholeheartedly, day after day. May the Lord be with us always, and may His glorious saints continue to ceaselessly pray for us sinners, still living in this world. Amen.