Friday, 2 November 2018 : Feast of All Souls (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Black or Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we celebrate the feast of All Souls’ Day, continuing from yesterday’s Solemnity of All Saints, as the last day of the Allhallowtide. In this period of time, we remember the souls of the faithful departed, and while yesterday we rejoice together in the glory of the saints who have triumphed with God, having been found worthy of the immediate glory of heaven, today, we focus our attention to the holy souls in purgatory.

Why are they called the holy souls in purgatory? That is because these are the ones who have passed on from this world, and have been regarded as belonging among the righteous, that they do not deserve the eternal suffering in hell, which is preserved only for all those who have rejected God and His truth, refusing to turn away from sin and from all of their wickedness down right to their last moments.

But these people, who were not counted among the wicked, and did not deserve hell, also still have with them the residual corruption and taints of sin, those that are not confessed and repented prior to their passing. These are the ones who are currently suffering in purgatory, as they are not condemned to hell, and yet, they still have to wait in order for their sins to be purified in purgatory, before they can ascend to the glory of heaven.

These are the souls of the faithful departed, who are enduring the flames of purgatory, the pain of expectation, and the waiting that agonises them, for they are not yet able to experience the fullness of God’s love and grace, and having to endure the waiting period and the time of purification, to remove from them the residual taints of sin mentioned. God is so holy and good, and no sin can exist in His presence, and that is why, these holy souls suffer.

Yet, they all long and hope for the eternal glory of heaven, and one day, when their sins have been cleansed from them, they will be able to leave purgatory behind and enter the glory of God’s everlasting kingdom. And hence, we pray for their sake, these holy souls in purgatory, that through our prayers, we may move God’s heart to show compassion and mercy on them, and hopefully, forgive them their sins through His grace, and they will be able to enter heaven at the soonest time possible.

It is important that we pray for the holy souls in purgatory, because ultimately, they are still together with us, as part of the one Church of God. They are the Church Suffering, who are suffering in expectation of their release from their temporary confinement in purgatory prior to heaven, just as we are the Church Militant, still living and struggling daily in this world, with our sins and with all the challenges we have to face each and every day.

And together with the saints, whose Solemnity of All Saints we have just celebrated yesterday, the Church Triumphant in heaven, all these three parts form the one Church of God, made of the saints’ Church Triumphant, our Church Militant, and the Church Suffering of the holy souls in purgatory. The saints are constantly praying for both us, as well as the holy souls in purgatory, that God may open the pathway for both of us to join them in glorifying Him in the eternal glory of heaven.

Therefore, we, the Church Militant, just as we often pray for one another, we too should also pray for the souls in purgatory, and even we should ask the saints for their intercession as well. We hope that through our prayers, these holy souls of those who have gone before us, including perhaps many of those whom we personally knee, they may all come to enjoy at the soonest opportunity, God’s love and grace in the eternal heavenly rest.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we pray for the souls in purgatory, today, as we remember our loved ones who have gone before us, and who may now be in purgatory, let us all reflect on our own lives. Let us all look deeply and carefully on our own actions in life, and how we have lived our lives thus far. Why is this important? That is because just as those souls had ended up in purgatory because of their residual sins, that can be our fate as well.

If we have not lived our faith through actions and deeds in our life, and if we have neglected the important observances and expressions of our faith, then not only we may end up in purgatory as well, but worse still, we may turn up to deserve the fall into hell, out of which there can be no escape, unlike purgatory which is just temporary suffering and which end point is still the heavenly glory God promised us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God loves each and every one of us very much, but at the same time, He also detests our sins and wickedness, and unless we change our ways and make the effort to turn away from those sins, we are in danger of entering into the eternal damnation in hell. Therefore today, and from now on, just as we continue to pray for the holy souls in purgatory, let us also reform our lives, that we may become ever closer to God and be more faithful to Him, with each and every passing day.

May the Lord be with us all, and may He guide us in our journey, now and always. May He look mercifully upon the sufferings of those in purgatory who long to be with Him in the glory of heaven, that He may forgive them completely their sins, allowing them to enter into heaven at the soonest opportunity. Amen.

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