The Word of God

Day of the Dead for the Living


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 2, 2019

Today, as many of us already know, is also referred as the Day of the Dead, and although that may seem remarkably somber and even morbid, it is the truth. Life is good but it certainly has a beginning and an end with a great filler in-between, and today we are called to reflect on the weighty and sobering aspects of its conclusion. The Scripture Readings for today may in fact sound familiar to some because they are the same, and many of the funeral selections are meant to give witness to the mystery of life and death so we may go forward in faith and love. Let’s take a look at a few gems:

“The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.” We are made timely aware of the truth of things as we experience them, that is, that even in death, we are with the Lord who loves and comforts us especially in our moments of sorrow. “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” No matter where our lives take us, the one constant is change, which includes the dark day of death but the constant presence is Jesus who never abandons those He loves. “If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” What a remarkable statement that is being made here. Death is actually something we share with Jesus and because of that, we also share in His victory over death and all the contraptions that accompany our experience of it especially grief and dark isolation. “And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Perhaps the most poignant and pertinent of all the passages comes to us from the Gospel today. We have been given the opportunity to reach out to Christ in each other everyday we have been alive. It is as if we have been either depositing or withdrawing from a spiritual bank account filled with love, kindness, and generosity. When the bank closes for good, we spend eternity based on the final reckoning. Be hopeful and generous today and pray for those who have died with those you love, knowing full well that they will be praying for you.

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed Us –
The Dews drew quivering and Chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – ’tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity –

Emily Dickinson

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