Nov. 12, 2014
By Father William Muench
Let’s talk about November, the month of the Faithful Departed.
The month begins with two important feast days – All Saints Day and All Souls Day. We remember our personal saints and we pray that we will one day be with them, be saints ourselves. We also pray for all of our deceased loved ones. In addition, November will be filled with many memorial services to celebrate the lives of deceased loved ones and deceased members of various groups.
November becomes more meaningful when we renew our faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our life and our own death one day become more understandable only when our faith is new and stronger. We begin by again recalling the Incarnation. Jesus, the Son of God, became one of us, became human in every way. Jesus lived among us and left a message – a way of life. This is a very startling thing. Our human race is sacred, is blessed because Jesus was once one of us.
Jesus accepted our humanity completely. He lived for us and he died for us. He came to prove to us God’s great love for us. He did this by dying on the cross, dying for us. St. Paul teaches us: “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath.”
Consider this – the value of our life and death is so important to God that Jesus died for us even when we were sinners, for many even before they found Jesus.
Jesus rose to new life. He was crucified and three days later he rose to new life. November is about Resurrection. November is an Easter. Jesus found new life. His message for us is that we – all of us – will one day find resurrection, new life with the Lord.
The message of November is that our resurrection begins for us now. We acquire a foretaste here on earth; we will experience this resurrection fully in the Kingdom. We can and must live now like resurrected people.
It should be obvious to all – in the way we live, in our very eyes – that we are aware that we have new life in the Lord. This means that we must daily strengthen our faith in Jesus. Faith in Jesus changes who we are. Faith gives us a life that must become new for we are experiencing new life with the Lord. This gives confidence, the confidence to do the right thing and the strength to make a difference. So, as followers of Jesus, the Jesus who rose for the dead, the Jesus who leads us to our resurrection, we are called to make our lives good and strong, to do all we can to make our world better as we live the life of resurrection now.
Finally, November is about recognizing that God truly wants us to come to eternal salvation. God has a destiny for us all – the destiny of salvation. God loves us intensely, passionately. God cares about us and wants salvation for us all. No one is eliminated – Jesus died for us all – Jesus calls us all to resurrection. We are all chosen.
So, this message of November is the very same message of the recent Synod on the Family at the Vatican. The Synod tells us that all are welcome, all are welcome in our Church in our destiny with God. If we believe in these messages that are also the message of November, then we are certain that our Church is a welcoming Church, we are a welcoming people.
This is our road to sanctity. I also want to share something from Father Flor McCarthy, SDB: our real goal is not to strive for happiness but for goodness. If we strive for goodness, happiness will follow. There are good people who acts with loneliness and a feeling of sadness for having left undone what they ought to have done. This is the sadness we all feel at times – the sadness of not being a saint.