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.

Friday, 2 November 2018 : Feast of All Souls (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Black or Purple/Violet

Matthew 11 : 25-30

At that time, Jesus said, “Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I praise You; because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to simple people. Yes, Father, this was Your gracious will.”

“Everything has been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father; and no one knows the Father except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For My yoke is easy; and My burden is light.”

Friday, 2 November 2018 : Feast of All Souls (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Black or Purple/Violet

Romans 5 : 5-11

And hope does not disappoint us, because the Holy Spirit has been given to us, pouring into our hearts the love of God. Consider, moreover, the time that Christ died for us : when we were still helpless and unable to do anything. Few would accept to die for an upright person; although, for a very good person, perhaps someone would dare to die.

But see how God manifested His love for us : while we were still sinners, Christ died for us; and we have become just, through His Blood. With much more reason now He will save us from any condemnation. Once enemies, we have been reconciled with God through the death of His Son; with much more reason, now we may be saved, through His life.

Not only that, but we even boast in God because of Christ Jesus, our Lord, through Whom we have been reconciled.

Friday, 2 November 2018 : Feast of All Souls (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Black or Purple/Violet

Psalm 26 : 1, 4, 7-9, 13-14

YHVH is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? YHVH is the rampart of my life; I will not be afraid.

One thing I ask of YHVH, one thing I seek – that I may dwell in His house all the days of my life, to gaze at His jewel and to visit His Sanctuary.

Hear my voice when I call, o YHVH, have mercy on me and answer. My heart says to You, “I seek Your face, o YHVH.” Do not hide Your face from me nor turn away Your servant in anger. You are my protector, do not reject me; abandon me not, o God my Saviour!

I hope, I am sure, that I will see the goodness of YHVH in the land of the living. Trust in YHVH, be strong and courageous, yes, put your hope in YHVH!

Friday, 2 November 2018 : Feast of All Souls (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Black or Purple/Violet

Isaiah 25 : 6-9

On this mountain YHVH Sabaoth will prepare for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, meat full of marrow, fine wine strained. On this mountain He will destroy the pall cast over all peoples, this very shroud spread over all nations, and death will be no more.

The Lord YHVH will wipe away the tears from all cheeks and eyes; He will take away the humiliation of His people all over the world : for YHVH has spoken. On that day you will say : This is our God. We have waited for Him to save us, let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation.

Thursday, 2 November 2017 : All Souls Day (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Black or Purple

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the All Souls’ Day, the day when we remember and pray for the souls of all the faithful departed, especially for those who are suffering in the fires of Purgatory, the place where the souls of the faithful go, when they are not yet fully worthy of God, meriting heaven directly as the saints had received. Today we pray for these holy souls, suffering because they are waiting to be fully reconciled and reunited with God.

Just as yesterday we rejoice together with all the saints of God, holy men and women deemed officially by the Church to be immediately merit and worthy of the glory and grace of heaven, in All Saints’s Day, today we remember all the other souls of the faithful departed, whom we hope to be welcomed by God in His eternal dwelling in heaven. We remember them because even though they are no longer physically with us, but they are still there, be it in heaven or in Purgatory, and hopefully not in hell.

The Church as I mentioned yesterday, is composed not only just of the Church that is physically in this world now, and neither it is made of just the buildings, structures, or hierarchies of people we often thought and mistook to be what the Church is. It consists firstly of all of us the faithful living in this world, part of the Church Militant, constantly struggling and persevering in this world, and that is why we are called the Church Militant.

However, the Church is also composed of all the saints of God, all those holy men and women who by their exemplary and inspiring lifestyle, have been deemed to be worthy of the Lord and His kingdom of heaven, as the Church Triumphant. And then, the Church also comprises of the souls of the faithful departed who are suffering in the flames of holy Purgatory, where they are spending time to be purified from their sins, as the Church Suffering.

Therefore, today, the primary focus of our intentions is the prayer for these souls in Purgatory, who cannot pray for themselves, to be forgiven from their sins that temporarily separates them from the fullness of the love of God. We pray for them because in our faith, we believe that the Lord will listen to our prayers, made for their sake, and He will be moved to help these souls that they may be completely absolved from their faults, and enter into the eternal glory of heaven.

I am sure that many of us are willing to pray for the souls of our loved ones who have gone before us. That is because we are not sure whether they have ended in heaven, or Purgatory, or even hell. But that is the reality, brothers and sisters in Christ. Not all souls will be saved, because in the end, if the person continues to reject the Lord’s offer of salvation and mercy, and doubles down the path of sin and darkness, in the end, it is only hell that awaits that person’s soul.

God does not abandon His people or cast them into hell. Rather, it is our own conscious choice to reject the Lord and to continue in our rebellion against Him, and being unrepentant about it which leads us to the damnation in hell. And hell is a reality that we must be aware of, for the suffering in hell is not just the fires that we often had in mind when we think of hell. In fact, the true suffering of the souls condemned to eternity in hell is due to the total lack of hope, and total separation from God’s love.

Mankind cannot live without God’s love, and to endure for eternity without any trace of God’s love is indeed how painful the suffering of the souls cast down to hell is like. And to a lesser extent, that is the suffering of the souls in Purgatory. For them, they are suffering because even though they have the hope of receiving eternal life and glory, and are in the threshold of Heaven, but they cannot yet enter it because of the sins that still once corrupted them in life.

For God is all good and perfect, that no sinner unforgiven and unrepentant can be in His presence, and thus, that is why our Church in its sacred tradition and teachings stated that the holy souls departed from this life, but had not yet merited Heaven immediately, will end up in Purgatory, where the cleansing flame of God’s love will purify their souls, and through prayers and intercessions from the saints and from each one of us still living in this world, they can be brought into Heaven in God’s good time.

Therefore, on this day, All Souls’ Day, all of us Christians should first of all, pray for the sake of our deceased brethren, those who have gone before us to the afterlife, as through our prayers, delivered to God, God may have mercy and compassion on these souls in Purgatory, and by His will and decision, He may absolve them of their remaining sins and impurities, and bring them right into the glory of Heaven.

But at the same time, what each and every one of us cannot forget is that, what happens on this day and what we commemorate is not just focusing on the souls of the dead. All of them have received their just rewards, be it eternal glory in Heaven right away, or be it temporary suffering in Purgatory while awaiting the glory of Heaven to come, or indeed, the eternal damnation and suffering in hell. But there are still many things that all of us, members of God’s Church Militant, still living in this world, can do.

As we pray for the sake of our departed brothers and sisters in the Lord, for our loved ones and for the salvation and peace for their souls, let us also remember in our own deeds and actions in life, in how we lead a life that should be Christian in nature, and devoted to God. If we have wandered off somehow because of the many temptations and pressures in life, from the world, from all those who are around us, and due to other reasons, perhaps it is time for us to reevaluate our lives, our focus and our approach in life.

Let us remember that this life we have now, we receive it from the Lord, our God. And our very breath, which we take in and exhale every now and then, regularly, comes from the Lord and is a gift of God. God has given each and every one of us the opportunities in our respective lives, to lead a good, Christian and dedicated life. We should not be complacent or be ignorant in our lives, but instead, strive to do our best to be devout and committed Christians.

And in that way, we will be able to build up for ourselves, as the Lord Jesus Himself said, a great treasure in heaven. Let us wait no longer and delay no longer, for many Christians like to delay and to postpone things, and think that they have a lot of time, or that God is forever merciful and loving, that no matter what sin we commit in life, God will forgive us everything we have done, and Heaven is guaranteed for us. No, this is a wrong way of thinking, and we should keep this in mind before it is too late for us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, as we today together with all the saints pray for the sake of all the holy souls departed, and those suffering in Purgatory, let us also renew our commitment to live our lives faithfully in accordance with God’s will, in all the things we say and do, in all the things we perform, all the days of our lives. May the Lord have mercy on all the holy souls of the faithful departed, and grant them eternal rest. Welcome them all into Your kingdom, Lord. Amen.

Thursday, 2 November 2017 : All Souls Day (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Black or Purple

Matthew 11 : 25-30

At that time, Jesus said, “Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I praise You; because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to simple people. Yes, Father, this was Your gracious will.”

“Everything has been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father; and no one knows the Father except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For My yoke is easy; and My burden is light.”