Saturday--All Souls' Day

Doing the Will of God the Father

Joke: People die and go to heaven to present themselves to the Lord. Before they are able to see the Lord, they have to see Saint Peter first to run through paper works. Part of his duties is to ask this question: What would you want people say at your funeral? One said that he used to be a brother Knight of Columbus while living on earth. He and his brothers Knight did a lot of good works for the Church and the community. I helped them both finance and labor. In addition, I fulfilled my duties at home as a husband and a father. This is what I want people say at my funeral. Next person came, and she was Catholic Daughter of America (CDA). She answered the question saying that she was very active as a Catholic daughter of America. She helped every fund raise that CDA had. She sold raffle tickets, baked cookies, cooked delicious meals to feed the homeless and many other acts of charity she took on herself to help her Church and the community. This is what she wanted to be recognized at her funeral. It then came to this gentleman who was a Jesuit priest. Saint Peter asked him, what would he want people say about him at his funeral? He replied, “I want them to say, ‘Look, he’s moving!”

Halloween, evening before the Christian holy days of All Hallows’ Day or All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day, they all remind us of the reality of death and life after death. These days are a sad reminder that one day we will be departed from this earthly life somewhere, sometime, sooner or later, we will all experience this reality. Then what? Is it all over? Expired? Absolute Silence? Darkness? No more love? No more joy? No more laughter? No more moving? Why does the Church use November 2 of every year to pray for all the faithful departed, especially, the whole month of November, the Church sets aside to pray for the faithful departed? Do they need our prayers?

In front of our eyes, the author of the book of Wisdom reported in today’s first reading saying, “They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction.” “For if before men,” the author continues, “indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself.” How can a person die and still hope? In our Holy Rosary, we begin by reciting the first three beads of the rosary to pray for the increasing of Faith, Hope and Love. They are the three theological virtues that Saint Paul beautifully reminds us in his teaching that in these three virtues, love remains. What it means is we only pray for the increasing of Faith, Hope and Love when we are still alive, but what happens when we die? There will be no more faith, but hope and love alone. We hope that the living ones, especially our loved one(s) will remember us and pray for us. This is the hope of the faithful departed since they cannot have faith no more nor pray for themselves any more. What happens when they arrive into heaven? There will be no more faith, no more hope, but love alone. Love remains at the end, our permanent home in heaven is filled with love and love alone.

So, our journey here on earth is to prepare ourselves to reach that permanent home in heaven. Question: How would we arrive that permanent home? What should we do in order to arrive to the right place, a permanent home in heaven?

Saint Paul reminds us in today’s second reading saying, “Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” That is to say that through our baptism in Christ, we all will one day die just as, Saint Paul continues, “Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.” The question then, how would we die with Christ in our baptism?

To answer this question, Saint John reminds us in today’s Gospel saying that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and he will raise him on the last day. To have faith in the Lord Jesus and to believe in him may help us get to heaven, no guarantee, and on the last day, he will raise all us up for the last judgement those of us might be still in purgatory. Saint James reminds us so well by saying, “Faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17). So, how do we work at it, our faith? Learn to practice the Beatitudes, to repent and to have a true conversion of heart followed the lives of the Saints that the Church celebrated yesterday. The decision is yours.

 

Weekday Homilies 2019

Homilies by Fr. Joseph Thang Nguyen


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