Homily November 1, 2015 All Saints day
The feasts of All Saints and All Souls brings us to the concept we call the Communion of Saints. In the early scriptures, the faithful are referred to as “saints” and the community was a part of a union of all believers in the love and fellowship of God. Of course, they thought Christ was returning in the very immediate future and thus the reality of that was very real for them. Their communing with the Martyrs and the persecutions of the time strengthened their resolve and the bond of love with each other through Christ and the Spirit. Their faith knew they would be united with those who went before them. But as the centuries moved on, and the life and death of fellow Christians were not martyrs or believers who stood out in faith, the mystery of death and the after life became speculative and question. The fact Jesus said the part of following him meant that suffering would come in some form or another. Also, most believers realize that everybody falls short of perfection and must seek out God’s mercy. With this in mind, in the communion of saints, the idea that those who fell short in life had a suffering or preparatory stage to full union with God. Yet, the concept of time and place which heaven and purgatory brings to the fore is not really consistent to time and place we experience. Even Paul tells us that what we will be has not yet come to light. We know there is eternal fire(Punishment) and union with God but that union is present even now and certainly before we die. Punishment comes from our disuniting or actually failing to love as we are called to do. As believers, we pray and embrace all who are part of God’s love and call for union with him. Thus, praying for those living or deceased is part of an expression of faith in the union of God’s love and mercy and the final and joyous reunion of all for eternity, standing and being with God. And so our prayers today and tomorrow are for all in the Communion of Saints, those walking the path with us now, those who have gone before us. We pray for the well being and love of all in union with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.