Catholic Homily Feast All Souls
by Fred Karpuk
1, The CORPORAL works of Mercy: Feed the Hungary, Give drink to the thirsty, Clothe the naked. These works come to us from Mt 25.
How about the Spiritual Works of Mercy? These charitable acts are based upon the teachings of Christ and the Church since the Apostles. Counsel the Doubtful, Instruct the Ignorant, Admonish the Sinner. Comfort the Sorrowful, Forgive Injuries, Bear wrongs patiently and PRAY FOR THE LIVING AND THE DEAD.
2. At a Cemetery, like our beloved Calvary, it is at times a place of SEPARATION when we take the remains of someone we have known or loved to be buried. There can be a sense of great anguish and loss when a body of a loved one dies. It can also be a place of RECONNECTION when we return to the cemetery and reading their head stone our memory banks are flooded with thoughts of that person.
At Calvary I have Blood relatives or In-laws with the titles of: Grandparents, Parents, Brothers, Sisters, Uncles, Aunts, and Nephews.
At Calvary, I have class mates, neighbors, friends, fellow Parishioners, Pastors and Bishops, all who influenced my life in different ways.
3. Yet we come to this church to engage ourselves in our most basic act as Baptized Catholics…to PRAY for the LIVING AND THE DEAD. This has always been apart of the mass…we cannot separate the importance of this prayer from it. We come as Catholics who believe that PRAYER is of the utmost importance for the sake of entering into and living out the mystery of LIFE…and the mystery of DEATH. But lest we forget, in a special way we HIGHLIGHT the need to PRAY for the DEAD of all families.
The Church TEACHES us how the TOTAL mystery of mortality (where the body is alive and then dies and decays) and immortality (where our soul from the moment of conception is always alive and that our bodies will one day rejoin our soul at the Resurrection), can be tied with how each of us can AFFECT or BE AFFECTED in each stage of this mystery by PRAYER. She wants us to learn that just as we have the necessity in life to eat, we also have the NEED FOR and NEED TO pray…for people will SPIRITUALLY STARVE TO DEATH.
4. We PRAY for the LIVING, because in this mystery of LIFE, prayers can affect our daily actions. Good can be advanced in life and evil held at bay. And we PRAY for the DEAD, because the Church teaches us that in the mystery of DEATH, our souls if in purgatory after death, can be HELPED in advancement towards the body & souls original destination of union with God in heaven.
HEAVEN is the place we go to if we die in a state of Grace or perfection. There we will enjoy Gods presence, peace and joy that was intended from the beginning. In heaven while we have no need of prayer, our intercessory prayers there will help others on earth and in purgatory.
PURGATORY is the state we are in, when we die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.
PURGATORY is the final purification and its purifying effect in our lives is entirely different than that of the suffering of the souls in HELL. Which is where people go who have turned away from God in this life. Prayer, their own or ours cannot affect their lives any more.
5. The TRUTH of the need for prayer for the LIVING and the DEAD, is in understanding the doctrines of Purgatory and the Communion of Saints. Man is not an isolated unit in the life of grace, any more than we can be isolated in our domestic or civil lives. As children of kingdom of God we are as one family under the loving Fatherhood of God. To some degree then, we each are beneficiaries of the spiritual activities of others prayers and good works, (Like the Works of Mercy, Adoration, 40 days of Prayer at Planned Parenthood) and especially of this Holy Mass we come to each week.
Sin and Death DO NOT sever this communion we have with each other, especially while we are alive here on earth or if we have died in faith and grace. Sin or Death DOES NOT shut the Souls out from the HELP THEY MAY NEED, and only you and I in this life can give. Our duty is to Pray for the LIVING AND THE DEAD.
6. People and nations are starving for lack of Prayer. Knowing that at each stage of life and death, how dependent we are upon help and prayer…how can we not take a look at where we can increase it. Without a doubt the more we pray, the more that good will come about.
-IN LIFE, it’s important to build the kingdom of God here on earth, by being a good parent, citizen or employee…but your kidding yourself about accomplishing it, if we don’t daily pray for a change of heart to address the needs and problems of families, countries and businesses.
-AND IN APPROACHING DEATH, it’s important to pray for your loved one as they lay sick and dying …but your kidding your self if you don’t think their needs may even be greater in the mystery of life after death.
All I can say is …PRAY FOR THE LIVING AND THE DEAD.