30th Friday of Ordinary Time
All Souls Day
Wisdom 3: 1 – 9; 2 Cor 5: 1, 6 – 10; John 11: 17 – 27
“The souls of the just are in the hand of God.” And we might dare to add to those words of Wisdom: “And the souls of those being justified” – all those who are being completely recreated, being made totally righteous by God in the reality of purgatory because their salvation is assured.
They are in the hand of God. The crucifix prominent in our church, in our abbey, in our homes holds before our eyes an icon of the hand of God – actually, both hands. The hands of the Son of God nailed to the wood of the cross are a perfect revelation of God the Father – a revelation of passionate love, of divine desire, of infinite mercy for our salvation – yours, mine, all people – for our eternal communion, intimacy with our God.
In commemorating today All Souls in our prayer, in our Eucharist, we thank God for their lives, for their salvation and we support those in the process of purgation. In addition to this, we are remembering, acknowledging, embracing the desire, the passion, the love of our God as we journey into the full embrace, the merciful touch of God’s hands.
Our God desires all people to be His and to share His own eternal life fully. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” What God desires for us, for all people exceeds anything we can ask or imagine as St. Paul wrote: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
At the heart of all the readings, I believe, there is the proclamation of God’s desire. In the Gospel, to Martha, Jesus proclaimed: “I am the Resurrection and the Life” – Martha, I am the one you desire and the one who desires you and all people. In our reception of the Holy Eucharist today, in receiving Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life, may the Lord deepen our desire for Him and through Him to the Father in the Spirit.
This true story came to my mind as I prepared this homily. The place: Nazi Germany – the year: 1943 – some young adults began a non-violent resistance through pamphlets speaking out against the Nazi tyranny. They were caught, tried, found guilty of treason in the morning of Feb 22, 1943 and executed in the afternoon by beheading. One of them – Christ of Probst became a Catholic one hour before the sentence was carried out. He received Baptism and the Holy Eucharist – on the way to the place of death, he was heard to say, “I never knew death could be so easy!” On this day of All Souls, we might let his words resonate in our hearts: “I never knew death could be so easy!”