Liturgical Colour : Violet or Black
Brothers and sisters in Christ, after we celebrated the feast of all saints yesterday, today we also remember all of our faithful departed, the souls of the dead, those who departed before us, some of which are known to us, as our own relatives, brothers and sisters in Christ. They have departed from us, but certainly they are not forgotten, as they remain with us, united in God.
Just like all saints, those who had departed this world are also our intercessors. They pray for us who are still in this world, this sinful world, immersed in our sinfulness. At the same time we also pray for them, that the Lord will welcome them into the kingdom of God, opening the gates of heaven for them, forgiving their sins, and purifying them that they will be able to join the company of saints and angels.
The Lord had given all of us and the souls departed a new and great hope, that they may receive salvation in Him, and be freed from the bondage of sin and evil. Previously, mankind had no hope for salvation, as the gates of heaven was closed shut tight before them, as the consequence and punishment for their rebellion and sinfulness.
It is through Jesus then, that we are made righteous again. It is because Christ took unto Himself all of our sins and defects, suffering for all the consequences of our sins in place of us, and die a humiliating death, all that so we can have a new hope in Him, the hope of a life eternal in glory with God in the afterlife. Through His resurrection, we then too share the hope of the same resurrection, that we will be brought body and soul, purified and made worthy by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
But this salvation is only offered to all those who receive and accept Christ as their Lord, their God, and their Saviour. In accepting the Lord Jesus as their Saviour and Lord, they receive the fullness of the salvation promised to all of us. But those who rejected Him and spurned His love will have no part in the glory promised to them. Instead, they shall perish and suffer everlasting death in the eternal darkness of hell.
If we are saved, then why do we need to pray for our departed ones, the souls of the dead? That is because, we believe that, in our faith, as a central dogma, is the presence of the purgatory, as a temporary place where souls transit on their way towards heaven. These souls have been found worthy by the Lord, worthy of heaven and therefore, they did not deserve hell and the devil’s fate for their destination. Yet, for them, they still have venial and small sins that prevented them from truly being with the Lord. This is why we have the souls in purgatory.
In purgatory, the souls are being purified of their sins, through suffering that they are not yet able to be with God. Nevertheless, this is unlike hell, which is a state of total and complete separation from God, in which there is no hope, an eternal suffering without end. In the purgatory are good souls who deserve to be with God, but they need to be rid of these little imperfections first before they can enter heaven. God is so great and perfect, and so perfectly good that no evil can hope to stand in His presence and survive. That is why, we have souls in purgatory.
Through our prayers, we help the souls departed in purgatory, that the Lord will pardon them completely, and allow them to be completely reunited with His love. Our prayers do help, brothers and sisters, if we are sincere. These souls, suffering the temporal separation from God, also pray for us, that we can grow more faithful and evade damnation, together with the saints, who intercede for us daily and at all times without cease.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, today, as we pray for the souls departed and the souls in purgatory, let us also take some time to reflect on our own actions, that we may seek to rectify any errors and unworthiness that we still maintain before the Lord, which distanced us from the embrace and love of God. Let us from now on, seek to be righteous and to be worthy, loving God’s children and He who is our Father Himself, with all of our hearts, our minds, and our souls. Amen.