By Fr Francis Anthony
The Lord is my Light and my Help
Very often when we offer Masses for the departed or on a Feast Day like today, All Souls, the first thought that comes to our mind is let us pray for this what we will call – the church’s suffering, those who are not in heaven and they are suffering in purgatory. And we are praying to ask God to hasten their deliverance. To forgive them their sins. It is not wrong. But the other aspect of this Feast, very often, doesn’t come to our mind.
I personally am here celebrating because I want to thank God for all the people who came to my life and have left me. Not just my parents and brother. My friends, my schoolmates, my teachers, my neighbours. Yes, all of them have played a role in our lives.
And today, yes, we pray for their souls to be received to heaven, they have sins forgiven but it should be also an occasion for us to look back with gratitude. No man is an island. God created us and He made us to live beginning with the family, then the neighbourhood, then the town. God created that we interact with one another. And through that interaction, we are helping each other to live the life of a disciple of Jesus (what I was speaking of yesterday).
We are helping each other. And in this, now we can look into our lives. Have I belittled anyone who has died with my words or action or attitude? Have I just simply wiped them out so to say I don’t want to remember them? If we are saying that, we are going against the plan of God. God created us to live in community, created us to walk hand in hand. God created us to depend on one another. And it is through this dependence we can say ‘Yes, I depend on God.’
If we are not dependent with one another, all of us are people who have been created to the image of God, and if you are not able to see God in my immediate neighbours, in my family, to say that I see God it is just a statement.
So today we pray, pray to God that He has blessed us with all these various people who in one way or another have played a role in our lives to be what we are today. We are not self-made people. We need the help of one another. And let this occasion be also moments of looking back to all those people who came about our lives and the role they played and to thank God. And through this thanking, we can make them live through our words and action.
Yes, they can be alive in us because I am living what they have told me. They are not just framed up pictures in the house but rather those who are walking along with me and helping me in my daily work. And since they are what they are to me, so now I pray, I pray honestly, I tell God ‘God he is my friend. He helped me. In all his human weaknesses, he was still reaching out to me. Whatever be the relationship, please forgive him his sins.‘ And this is how we can say ‘the church of the living praying for the church’s suffering.’ And our gratitude is shown by our deep love for them and we want them to have the best and this is what is in the Responsorial Psalm, in the 3rd verse:-
O Lord, hear my voice when I call, have mercy and answer.
And in a complete way:-
O Lord, help me to show appreciation to all these people who have left me. Bring them, they have hope in you. With all the human weaknesses, they have gone out of their way to help me (be personal), to help me to be what I am. And he has hope in You, with all his human weaknesses but he was there. The hope in the Lord was with him and that has been transferred to me by his kindness.
So let us pray to God for all the people who have come into our lives. We pray also for all those whom we do not know, who have left us and very recently, as I said yesterday, due to tragedies, who have left us. We do not know them but let us pray for them. Let us also to pray for all the people who have died for our well-being, fighting the wars to defend the country. Let us pray for all those and I speak of those involved in the transport ministry, who have died on the road by being or doing service for us, with accidents, let us pray for them.
There are many many people whom we do not know. But they are our brothers and sisters. Let us show a sign of concern for all of them.
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