Homily for All Souls’ Day 2016.
Yesterday, on All Saints’ Day, we reflected that we are never alone. I told you what Pope Benedict XVI said at his installation of Bishop of Rome in April 2005: “Those who believe are never alone B neither in life nor in death.@ God never intended us to be Lone Rangers, I said. In baptism he made us members of his great family, the Catholic Church. He wants us to support one another. One way we do so is by praying for one another.
Our present Pope Francis is quite different from his predecessor. Yet he proclaims the same gospel. Here is something he said on All Souls’ Day two years ago. “The communion of Saints goes beyond earthly life, it goes beyond death and lasts forever. This union among us, goes beyond and continues in the afterlife; it is a spiritual union that stems from Baptism, is not severed by death but, thanks to the Resurrection of Christ, is destined to find its fullness in eternal life. There is a profound and indissoluble bond among all those who are still pilgrims in this world - among us - and those who have crossed the threshold of death to enter into eternity. All the baptized down here on earth, the souls in Purgatory and all the Blessed who are already in
Paradise make up one great family. This communion between
earth and Heaven is brought about especially through intercessory prayer.”
Intercessory prayer (also called suffrages) refers to our prayer for the departed, and to their prayer for us. He is what the Catechism says. “The Church in its pilgrim members [that is in us who are still alive], from the very earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead and ‘because it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins’ she offers her suffrages for them. Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them but also of making their intercession for us effective.” (No. 958)
This is what we do in a special way on All Souls’ Day.