Saturday, 2 November 2019 : Feast of All Souls, Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Black or Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we continue to celebrate through the Allhallowtide period, as we move on from the glorious celebrations of yesterday’s Solemnity of All Saints to the more sombre commemoration of All Souls Day today. While yesterday we focus our attention on the glorious holy men and women, the saints of God who are already in heaven, today we remember the memory of the holy souls departed from us.

On this All Souls Day, we remember all those our brethren who have departed from this world, having met the end of their earthly existence and are now not yet worthy of the glory of heaven unlike those saints who are already there with God. Instead, these souls are now waiting in purgatory, in a place where they are purified from their sins before they are allowed to enter into the heavenly glory with God. They are worthy enough to evade the eternal damnation in hell but not yet worthy of heaven at the moment.

Today we remember those holy souls, who are holy because in life they have been righteous and faithful, and not those who have completely rejected and refused to believe in God right up to their dying breath. However, because of their remaining substantial sins, be it venial sins or more serious sins that are yet to be confessed or forgiven by God, they are considered to be yet fully worthy of God, for we must remember that while God loves us all very much and wants us to be with Him, but He is also all good and perfect.

And thus with that in mind, we must understand that sin has no place at all before God, no matter how small or insignificant those sins are. Sin is corruption of our flesh, our mind, our heart, our soul and our very being, and therefore, as long as we have any remaining sin in us, we are still yet unworthy of entering the glory of heaven directly unlike the saints whose virtues so exceed their shortcomings or that they have lived lives full of virtue that they deserved immediate entry into heaven.

Therefore, the Church taught us the doctrine of purgatory, as a place in the afterlife where the departed holy souls are being purified in the ‘flames’ of purgatory, as their residual sins are being purified from them so that eventually they will merit the glory of heaven. The greater the residual sins one has, consequently the longer he or she has to spend in purgatory prior to joining with God in the fullness of heavenly glory.

Those holy souls in purgatory are often described as suffering, suffering not from any physical injury or even flames as those depictions of purgatory like to project to us. But rather, it is the unbearable separation from God, Who is already so close to them and yet still distant from them that made them to suffer. They love God very much, and yet there is still the chasm between them and God caused by their residual sins.

Of course their suffering is different from those in hell as those in hell have absolutely no hope and have been shut off from the Lord for eternity, but nonetheless, the moments that the holy souls in purgatory spend there being separated from God must have been a tough suffering indeed. There has been verified witnesses and events in the history of the Church when the holy souls in purgatory had appeared or made known to us how they are suffering there, waiting for the full reunion with God.

Now, having discussed about the holy souls in purgatory, let us then move on to the significance of this day, the All Souls Day. On this day in particular, we focus our attention on all those holy souls still in purgatory waiting for entry into heaven. Just as yesterday we remember the saints who are still part of the Church as much as we are as the Church Triumphant in heaven and we as the Church Militant on earth, thus the holy souls in purgatory are also still part of the Church, the Church Suffering.

The Church Suffering are praying with us, for our sake, that we may live our lives virtuously so hopefully we may avoid the same fate that they are now enduring in facing a period of lengthened wait before they can enter into heavenly glory and joy. But they cannot pray for themselves, and they need our help in this regard. We can pray for the holy souls in purgatory, asking God to help them and to reduce the amount of time they have to spend there, because we remind God of the love which He has for us, to forgive us all our sins.

That is why it is important that today we recall the memory of our loved ones and all those whom we know, who are no longer with us and are probably waiting in purgatory this very moment. Let us all pray for each and every one of them, and let us all help them to be purified and be forgiven their sins that they may enter the gates of heaven at the soonest possible moment. And let this day also be a reminder for us that we may end up spending a long time in purgatory too, unless we straighten up our lives.

This means that as we remember the holy souls in purgatory, we have to keep in mind and reflect on our own way of life too. We have to live our lives faithfully at all times, distancing ourselves from sinful and wicked acts and things in life. That way, we may be worthy enough that our virtues and goodness will allow us to go right up to the heavens, just as the saints are. While we have breath in us and time given by God, let us not wait until it is too late for us.

And lastly, let us all pray for those holy souls in purgatory who may have no one to pray for them, so that through our prayers, they too may be helped. And maybe we should also remember even those who have used to be our enemies and treated us badly in life, and are now in purgatory. Let us all forgive them what they have done to us and pray for them so that as what God has said Himself, that He may forgive us our sins just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.

May the Lord, our ever loving and wonderful God continue to love us and bless us, and may He give the holy souls in purgatory a reprieve from their suffering out of love for Him, that they may be reunited completely with Him in the heavenly glory they have yearned for. And may we all too be faithful and be righteous that one day we will also merit the entry into His glorious kingdom. Amen.

Saturday, 2 November 2019 : Feast of All Souls, Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Black or Purple/Violet

Luke 7 : 11-17

At that time, a little later, Jesus went to a town called Naim. He was accompanied by His disciples and a great number of people. As He reached the gate of the town, a dead man was being carried out. He was the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; there followed a large crowd of townspeople.

On seeing her, the Lord had pity on her and said, “Do not cry.” Then He came up and touched the stretcher, and the men who carried it stopped. Jesus then said, “Young man, I say to you, wake up!” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

A holy fear came over them all, and they praised God saying, “A great Prophet has appeared among us. God has visited His people.” The news spread throughout Judea and the surrounding places.

Saturday, 2 November 2019 : Feast of All Souls, Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (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.

Saturday, 2 November 2019 : Feast of All Souls, Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (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!

Saturday, 2 November 2019 : Feast of All Souls, Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (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.

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.”