Time to Fall Back

November 2, 2014 | HNMWebmaster | Comfort, Eternal Life, Faith, Father Salvador, Homilies, Hope, St. John, Trust

Solemnity of All Souls
November 2, 2014 – Year A

Readings: Wis 3:1-9; Psalm 23; Rom 5:5-11; Jn 6:37-40
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor

Yesterday, the Holy Name of Mary Facebook page and a number of friends gave me a great reminder. “Don’t forget to ‘fall back’ tomorrow morning.” Being reminded to turn back the clock an hour is just like reminding me to eat rice, which is my favorite food. Reminding me to have an extra hour of sleep – I would love to be reminded of this every single day.

In a spiritual sense, the season of Fall is a perfect time to fall back and reflect on the meaning of our lives, most especially for us who celebrate today the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed. About 3 weeks ago, I was admiring the beautiful color of the leaves in the Forest area, anf I said, “I love it when leaves change colors.” With this simple declarative sentence, my good friend John, as an act of charity, was moved to give me a short, impromptu lecture on what he heard on NPR – that leaves don’t change colors.

Plants make their food using sunlight and chlorophyll. It is the chlorophyll that gives leaves their green color. Since many plants stop making food in the Fall, the chlorophyll and the green color goes away. Then we can see yellow, orange, red, purple, and a variety of colors. These colors were in the leaves all along, but you just couldn’t see them because they were covered by the green pigmentation coming from the chorophyll. So what we see in the fall are the actual – the natural – colors of the leaves.

In the metaphysical or ontological sense, this is what happens to us when we cross the door that we call death. At the end of our earthly existence, we will be transformed into our real selves. That’s why St. Paul says to the Philippians, “Our Lord will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body.” And God’s words in the book of Wisdom, which we heard in the first reading: “The souls of the just are in the hand of God. As gold in the furnace, he proved them. In the time of their visitation, they shall shine.” And in St. Paul’s letter to the Romans: “Through baptism into his death, we were buried with him, so that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of God the Father, we too might live a new life.”

So today as we celebrate the commemoration of all the faithful departed, Holy Mother Church would like us to have in mind our eternal destiny. For those of us who have just lost loved ones, these words might not lessen our pain. However, it might help to remember that our Lord Jesus himself wept at the death of his good friend Lazarus. Why did he weep when he knew that he could easily raise Lazarus back to life? Because although he is God, he is also fully human, like us. He felt the pain of loss.

Today as we pray for our loved ones who were born into life eternal this past year, (names are displayed on a poster) though we feel the pain, we also believe that we will see them again. We can no longer see them, but they can see us. We can no longer hear their voices, but they can hear us. They are in the place that our Lord Jesus has prepared for them. Hearing this good news will enable us to see life and death in their proper perspective.

The other day, the Virgin Galactic spaceship, which was designed to carry paying passengers into space, crashed during a test flight. But according to USA Today, this will not stop the space tourism industry. At this time, there are more than 700 passengers who have paid in advance – tens of thousands of dollars – for a ticket for one of these voyages into space. They say that one of the inherently unique aspects of space is that it is dangerous. But people are willing to risk their lives for that experience. And another reason is that it is human nature to be curious and explore what surrounds us. The saying that “curiosity killed the cat” apparently doesn’t hold water for many people, because in fact, curiosity is the mother of invention and curiosity can lead to great achievements.

Today as we celebrate All Souls’ Day, may we continue to be curious of God’s plan for each & every one of us. May we continue to be curious about our eternal destiny.

For us, our goal is not just to go to outer space. Our goal is to go to Heaven. Today, during the Offertory, as we offer the bread and wine, which will become the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, may we be spiritually curious of the words from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard what God has ready for those who love him.”