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.

(College of Cardinals Update) Passing of Cardinal Karl Lehmann, Cardinal Priest of San Leone I, at the age of 81

Cardinal Karl Lehmann, Cardinal Priest of San Leone I and Bishop Emeritus of Mainz has returned to the Lord on Sunday, 11 March 2018 at the age 0f 81.

Cardinal Lehmann was the Bishop of Mainz from 1983 to 2016, and was also the Vice President of the German Episcopal Conference from 1985 to 1987 and the longtime President of the same Episcopal Conference from 1987 to 2008. He was also the Vice President of the Council of European Bishops’ Conference from 1993 to 2001. He was made a Prince of the Church as the Cardinal Priest of San Leone I in the Consistory of 21 February 2001 by Pope St. John Paul II, the Vicar of Christ.

We pray for the soul of Cardinal Karl Lehmann, that God will welcome him into the eternal glory of heaven. And we also thank God for having given us this great servant of God and His Church through his many works and dedications for the sake of the people of God. May God give him eternal rest. Amen.

As of today, with the passing of Cardinal Karl Lehmann, the College of Cardinals stood at 215 members, consisting of 117 Cardinal-electors and 98 Cardinal non-electors.

(College of Cardinals Update) Passing of Cardinal Giovanni Coppa, Cardinal Deacon of S. Lino, at the age of 90

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Cardinal Giovanni Coppa, Cardinal Deacon of S. Lino and former Apostolic Nuncio to the Czech Republic has returned to the Lord on Monday, 16 May 2016 at the age 0f 90.

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Cardinal Coppa was the Assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State from 1975 to 1979, working in the Roman Curia, and then was made the Apostolic Nuncio to the Czech Republic (1990-2001) and to Slovakia (1993-1994). He was made a Prince of the Church as the Cardinal Deacon of S. Lino in the Consistory of 24 November 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI, the Vicar of Christ.

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We pray for the soul of Cardinal Giovanni Coppa, that God will welcome him into the eternal glory of heaven. And we also thank God for having given us this great servant of God and His Church through his many works and dedications for the sake of the people of God. May God give him eternal rest. Amen.

As of today, with the passing of Cardinal Giovanni Coppa and the aging-out of Cardinal Karl Lehmann, the College of Cardinals stood at 214 members, consisting of 114 Cardinal-electors and 100 Cardinal non-electors.

Cardinals Update: Passing of Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejia, Librarian Emeritus of the Vatican Apostolic Library and Archivist Emeritus of the Vatican Secret Archives (Argentina), at the age of 91

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Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejia, Cardinal-Priest of S. Girolamo della Carita pro hac vice Title, has passed away on Tuesday, 9 December 2014 at the age of 91. He was the Librarian of the Vatican Apostolic Library and the Archivist of the Vatican Secret Archives from 1998 to 2003, in charge of the various collections of the Vatican and the Holy See, of documents and various other objects under the care of the Apostolic See. He was also Secretary for the Congregation for Bishops and the College of Cardinals before taking up the aforementioned role.

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Cardinal Mejia was created Cardinal in 2001 by Pope St. John Paul II in his eighth Cardinal creation consistory on 21 February 2001. His motto was “Ipse est pax nostra” which means ‘He Himself is our peace’, a reminder that our Lord Jesus Christ brings peace into the world, and in His Good News we can find true peace. It is this peace which Cardinal Mejia had worked hard for many years, and to which peace he is now going to.

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We pray for Cardinal Mejia, that he will rest in peace, and God will reward him for all his hard and great work as the long time servant of God for the ministries and good works he had done for the sake of God and His people in the entire Universal Church in his dedication and work in the Roman Curia, in helping those who are dealing with health care and care of the sick around the world. May the Lord welcome him into His embrace in heaven and give him eternal rest and happiness that he deserved.

With the passing of Cardinal Mejia, and the recent aging out of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., the College of Cardinals now stands at 208 members, with 112 Cardinal-electors and 96 Cardinal non-electors. The number of Cardinal-electors now is 8 below the specified maximum limit of 120.

There are now 8 Cardinal-elector vacancy in the College of Cardinals, 0 vacant Cardinal Suburbicarian Sees (for Cardinal Bishops), 5 vacant Cardinal Titles (for Cardinal Priests) and 11 vacant Cardinal Deaconries (for Cardinal Deacons).

Cardinals Update: Passing of Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (Italy), at the age of 98

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Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini, Cardinal-Priest of S. Spirito in Sassia pro hac vice Title, has passed away on last Saturday, 22 November 2014 at the age of 98. He was the long time chief of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, first as its Pro-President from 1985 to 1989 and then as President from 1989 to 1996. In that position, Cardinal Angelini has a very special role to help the health care workers that are part of the Church’s vast humanitarian and charity efforts around the world. In another unique note, he was also the last of the Cardinals present in the current College of Cardinals to be born in the city of Rome in the year 1916.

http://www.gcatholic.org/hierarchy/data/cardJP2-5.htm#7

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Cardinal Angelini was created Cardinal in 1991 by Pope St. John Paul II in his fifth Cardinal creation consistory on 28 June 1991. His motto was “Evangelizo Pacem Evangelizo Bonum” which means ‘I bring the Good News of peace’, a reminder that our Lord Jesus Christ brings peace into the world, and in His Good News we can find true peace. It is this peace which Cardinal Angelini had worked hard for many years, and to which peace he is now going to.

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We pray for Cardinal Angelini, that he will rest in peace, and God will reward him for all his hard and great work as the long time servant of God for the ministries and good works he had done for the sake of God and His people in the entire Universal Church in his dedication and work in the Roman Curia, in helping those who are dealing with health care and care of the sick around the world. May the Lord welcome him into His embrace in heaven and give him eternal rest and happiness that he deserved.

With the passing of Cardinal Angelini, and the recent aging out of Cardinal Franc Rode, the College of Cardinals now stands at 209 members, with 113 Cardinal-electors and 96 Cardinal non-electors. The number of Cardinal-electors now is 7 below the specified maximum limit of 120.

There are now 7 Cardinal-elector vacancy in the College of Cardinals, 0 vacant Cardinal Suburbicarian Sees (for Cardinal Bishops), 5 vacant Cardinal Titles (for Cardinal Priests) and 10 vacant Cardinal Deaconries (for Cardinal Deacons).

(Usus Antiquior) Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, All Souls’ Day (Feria II Classis) – Monday, 3 November 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, following the Usus Antiquior or the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite of the Holy Mass, we celebrate the commemoration of all the faithful departed, or the celebration of All Souls’ Day. We therefore today remember all of our loved ones and indeed, all of our fellow brothers and sisters who have gone before us into the afterlife.

The souls of the dead departed from their bodies, and to many of us, death seems like to be very dreadful and vile indeed. And that is why so many people feared death, as they see it as the separation from what is dear to them in the world, from all of their loved ones and from all of their possessions, indeed, from everything that they were and from everyone they ever knew.

Or so it seems. We often mourn at death because we do not understand death, and we often do not know that what we see as death, is not an eternal separation or indeed even as something to be dreaded at all. For some of us, we cannot endure death because we fear losing what we have in this life, our possessions and our ties to the things of this world. And then for some, we see death as something evil and scary, as how it was often portrayed to us.

What is death? Death is, as mentioned, the sting of sin, and death is the consequence of sin. Death is never meant for us, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we were created by God in perfection, intended to enjoy forever the bliss of life and harmony, with the Lord in complete and unadulterated love. Instead, men chose to follow their own path, and to listen to the lies of Satan, and thus sinned.

Sin is disobedience and rebellion against God’s will, against God who is love and who is life. As He is the source of life, when we rebelled against the Lord, we have been tainted by sin and therefore being cast off from Life itself, having no life in us. Hence, even though the breath of life which God had given us is within us, but the life we have in this world is temporary, and is bound to end one day, at the Lord’s time and choosing.

Yes, we are all mere mortals, and the life within us depends on God, who gives and takes Life as He pleases. And yet, this life which we have is in fact an opportunity for us all to atone and repent from our sinfulness. And the Lord Himself has presented us with a new hope and guidance, by the sending of His own Son, our Lord Jesus Christ into this world.

Why is this so? That is because our Lord Jesus Christ offers us a new life, that is life in Him, the Lord of Life. He has life in Him as given to Him by His Father, and He is the Bread of Life who came down from heaven. Why is this allusion to food, the Bread of Life? Because Christ Himself had offered His own flesh and blood to become the very food and drink that gives us new life and nourishes us.

This food and drink is the food that gives us new life, not the life that is still subjected to the power of death, but a new life that is free from the depredations of death. And Jesus offered us this Bread and this Wine, His own Body and Blood, to be part of us, when we receive them with faith, so that we who share in His gifts through the sacrifice He made on the cross, gain everlasting life through Him.

Our mortal existence in this world may come to an end, but we have been assured the final victory against death, as the Lord Himself had conquered death through His own resurrection from the dead. And that resurrection is our hope, because through it we know that there is escape from death, and it will not have the final say against us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, there are three fates awaiting the souls when they depart from this earthly life. If they are wicked in life, disobeying the Lord and refusing to listen to His calling, and even refusing to repent and believe in Him, committing evil in life, then hell is their lot. Hell that is the total separation and rift from the love of God, without hope of escape and salvation. No amount of help or prayer will help souls that have been condemned to hell for their irredeemable sins.

Meanwhile, the souls of the faithful will end up either in heaven or in Purgatory, depending on what they had done in life. If their lives had been exemplary in faith, filled with all forms of goodness and righteousness, then they merit the glories and joy of heaven straight away, and these are the saints, the holy men and women who keep their lives pure and worthy in the sight of God.

How about Purgatory, then? Purgatory is the place where the souls of the faithful dead, who has been faithful and devoted to God, and were found righteous, but still have the taints of serious sins on them. As such, they were not yet worthy of the fullness of glory of heaven, as the Lord dwells there, and in the presence of God, no sin should stand.

Therefore, the souls whose sins have not been completely purified have to wait in the Purgatory, suffering the consequences of their sins, the pain and sorrow of not being able to be with the Lord their God, and at the same time, being fully aware of the wickedness of their sins and shortcomings, which made them to end up in the Purgatory at the first place. They will indeed eventually proceed to heaven, but only after their sins had been absolved completely.

Today is therefore a reminder for us, on this feast of All Souls, that we have a clear choice in this life to follow the will of God and walk in His ways, or otherwise to follow the whims of our own desire and to listen to Satan and thus to sin. If we are not careful, and if our lives are filled with wickedness, then we may end up in hell, without hope of ever escaping it.

And the souls in Purgatory and their suffering there reminds us to lead a righteous life, free from even venial and seemingly minuscule and light sins. Even these may hamper us as we make our way towards the Lord. And the souls in Purgatory needs our prayer, as they cannot pray for their own sake. If we pray for the souls in Purgatory, we may obtain for them plenary or partial indulgence for the remission and absolution of their sins, so that hopefully they will be able to end their sufferings in Purgatory and proceed to the eternal glory in heaven.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, let us ask the holy saints and angels of God to pray, first to pray for the souls in Purgatory, that together with their prayers, our prayers for these poor souls may rise to the presence of God, and God in His mercy and love, may forgive them their sins and bring them into heaven to be with Him, having been made pure and blameless, so that they may not need to suffer anymore.

And finally, for them to also pray for us sinners who still walk in this world in this mortal life. That we may realise our sinfulness and mortality, and of the suffering of the souls in Purgatory, so that we may change our ways, avoiding and rejecting sins, that we may eventually be found worthy in heaven and that none of us will be lost to hell. May all the souls of the faithful dead in the Lord, find rest in peace and receive the eternal glory of everlasting heaven with Him. Amen.