Death is uncompromising reality and it is the only truth, and no one can escape death. If you are born, you are subject to die. But as Catholics we have reason to rejoice even in death because we believe in Resurrection. Why I write this reflection because this month the church has allotted for us to pray for all our near and dear departed souls. Many parts of the world the people go especially this month to the cemetery to light the candles and decorate the graves of the deceased. The cemetery reminds us of many things. It is the most peaceful place on earth, and when you stand there you feel the calmness and silence of the place. It will make you think about yourself and the people who lay there. First of all when we stand there it reminds us that we are not permanent here on earth, secondly reminds that we still have time to repent and do good things in order to have a peaceful death and gain the eternal reward. Cemetery also reminds us that God is not going to ask us how we died but rather how we lived when you were given the gift of life. We read in the Gospel as recorded by St. Mathew chapter 25;31-46 regarding the final judgement, there he mentions “the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me……..Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me etc.” Here we have to pause a while and think which category that we belong RIGHT SIDE or LEFT SIDE Of the KING. These are the questions God is going to ask on the final judgement day, and basing on the answers you give will receive your reward. For this we have to be well prepared, and should grab every opportunity that comes along your way.
One day one of my friends asked me are you not afraid to live so close by the cemetery? (Because back in India the church, cemetery and rectory are in one compound), especially at night don’t you have strange feelings and some uneasiness to sleep. My answer was why I need to get frightened and feel uneasy. If ever I do so, I just pray for the souls of all the departed, moreover I do offer Holy Mass for them and encourage the people to do the same, because they need our prayers and our spiritual support for their salvation. Then he proceeded to ask me, When you go to the cemetery, does it ever make you feel creepy? Especially around sundown, are you afraid that some ghost is going to lunge out from the grave and grab your ankle? And here I asked a counter question to him, are you really believed in Jesus Christ, and His words? Sometimes we have been trained in our culture to think that the dead aren’t really dead. But the Bible teaches the dead don’t come back, they go to heaven the dwelling place of God or other places (like Purgatory or Hell) according to the deed that they have done in their pilgrim journey here on earth, and not living the expectations of God. However they get mercy if we really pray for them and especially this month of November. That is why I encourage you all to pray everyday for the departed and offer Holy Masses for them for the purification of souls. One day we are going to embrace the reality of DEATH.