Friday, November 2, 2007

Happy Dia de los Muertos, y'all!

The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed
(All Souls)
November 2, 2007
Mass Readings:
Wisdom 3:1-9
Romans 6:3-9
John 6:37-40

Yesterday we celebrated All Saints and now we celebrate All Souls. I love these two days. I always take time on these days to reflect on the fact that death is not the end and to remember and celebrate the lives of my family and friends who have already died in the peace of Christ. I miss them no matter how long it has been since they died but I also celebrate that they are alive and well in God's Kingdom!

I have been fascinated for years with the Mexican celebration known as Dia de los Muertos. The first time I became aware of this celebration I was a bit confused by the garish costumes, skulls made out of sugar, and eating meals in the cemeteries where loved ones are buried, etc. Then it hit me, why be afraid of the dead? Why shouldn't I go to the cemetery and reflect and remember my family and friends who have died? It is now something I look forward to every year.

This morning's Mass is in memory of all our faithful departed. We call to mind all of those who have died in the peace of Christ and are now rejoicing in the Lord's presence! How beautiful is that! We have every reason to dress brightly and laugh and celebrate, to feast and rejoice! Death is not the end but the beginning! it is the fulfillment of Jesus' promise to prepare a place for us in his Father's Kingdom! For those who believe, life does not end but merely changes.

We grieve and mourn the loss of our family and friends. Every year I find myself sad when I think about how I cannot call-up my friend Liz or listen to one of my grandfather's stories. I miss all of my family and friends who have died. Yet at the same time I am happy for them because they have received the perfection of love in God's great gift of salvation! We are baptized into Jesus' death and also his resurrection! We die physically but live eternally in spirit in God's presence. Amen!

This morning I prayed the Office for the Dead and reflected on how blessed I am because of all the people who have touched my life. Those who have died have left their mark upon me and they continue to do so because I know that they are still with me in spirit and are praying for me in Heaven. I am sad and happy today at the same time.

Let us all take time today to remember and mourn, give thanks and celebrate all of our faithful departed. Let us acknowledge our grief but take time to give thanks and be happy for our memories and for the future when we will all be reunited. Tonight I will be going to a celebration of Dia de los Muertos and I am going to eat a few of those sugar skulls and maybe even join in a dance or two. I want to remember with joy the times I had with my family and friends before they died. I want to give air and light to my grief so that I don't ever lose hope. I want to look forward with longing to the time when I will be reunited with all those who have gone before me.

I wish to you all a very life giving All Souls Day. Let us remember and honor, grieve and rejoice, cry and laugh as we honor all of our beloved dead.