15 NOV 2009

       In our reading today it can be viewed as pretty ominous. The end of the world as we know is not something we like to think about. We hear in the Scriptures over and over again of what to expect when we are called home to be with God our Creator.

       I can remember as a child when storms would be coming in from the west. There would be dark clouds, thunder and lightning and rain. I can remember thinking, is this, the end as foretold in the Scriptures? Because these storms could by awesome in size and of course disaster could follow with tornadoes and flooding and such. Now days with the invention of Doppler radar and all the other techniques our weather forecasters have at hand, and instant access to television and the internet we know these are just other storms coming through. We know where they are coming from and where they a heading to and we are told what to expect as a result of these storms.

       Probably more on our minds as to the end of time is the fear of the end of our own mortal lives. That of us and our loved ones such as family and friends is what comes to mind. Some people are ready and some just donít think about it. They donít think about it until some one close has passed away.

       In the first reading today the Prophet Daniel speaks of those who were being persecuted. He is telling his Jewish listeners that at the end of the difficult period of wars that those who had been faithful to the Lord would be taken care of and watched over by the Lord.

       The prediction of everlasting life is perhaps an early statement alluding to the Resurrection of the dead at the end of time. If this is true, his reference is probably more to a general Resurrection of the dead, than an individual Resurrection of the dead. Some early Jewish beliefs spoke of the Resurrection of the dead in a general sense.

       In our second reading from the Letter to the Hebrews the writer speaks of what the priests did in offering sacrifices frequently. These sacrifices offered everyday by the priests, still left them being unable to forgive sins.

       The one true priest Jesus Christ gave wholly of himself in his sacrifice on the cross, and only having to do this once, he was able to take away sins.

       To live our lives in a sin free environment is virtually impossible but we as Catholic Christians have a way to be relieved of our sins through the power of absolution when participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If we avail ourselves to this sacrament on a regular basis and be faithful to our faith we can be somewhat assured that we are ready to join the Lord our God when he calls us to his heavenly kingdom.

       We will never know when it is our time, but sometimes we may have time to prepare ourselves. This past week I have had the opportunity to meet with two families who lost a loved one. The husband died after an illness that was diagnosed a year and a half ago. In standing in line waiting to visit his wife I saw a few pictures of him at a cookout not more than a month ago, according to the dates on the pictures. The family had time to prepare for his passing and I am sure he was able to get his life in order before he left this world, may he rest in peace.

       The other passing was that of a mother and grandmother who died after a fall and the fall apparently was the cause of her death. This of course was totally unexpected and has brought upon the family a heavy burden of grief with no warning. I spoke with the youngest daughter and I told her that I thought I understood how her motherís death would probably cause her to question her faith. She acknowledged that yes it did but she said she was confident that she her sister and father would get through it.

       See we donít know when God will call us back. At times like these it is hard to explain to people how God let this happen. We can no more explain the will of Gad than we can explain why people commit such horrendous crimes against humanity, such as what happened at Fort Hood in Texas this past month. There are some things that can not be explained.

       God put us here on earth for a reason and he calls us back for reasons we cannot understand. But our faith is what holds us strong in that our loved ones who have departed this world are at peace and that we are sure to join them at a later date.

       Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York spoke of a woman he met with when he was a priest. He had commented to her about the testing of her faith when her husband passed away unexpectedly. She acknowledged to him that yes it did cause her some concern about her faith, but then she told him that with out her faith she believed nothing else would get her through her grief. That was an experience that he had never forgotten and he shared on his radio program with his interviewer and the listening audience.

       So it should go without saying but we need to live our lives as if we were to leave this world at anytime, for we never know when it is our time. We believe God wants us to have a good life here on earth, but that there is a better life with him in his heavenly Kingdom.

       As the month of November passes behind us and our book of the dead is closed for another year at the conclusion of this period of time to remember All Souls Day, let us recall those who have gone before us and strive to live in a way most pleasing to the Lord so we can join those souls together with God in his heavenly Kingdom.


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