Daily Reflection on the Gospel of Tuesday, November 2, 2021

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Today, the Gospel calls forth Christianity’s most significant deed: the death and resurrection of Jesus. Today, we also make the Good Thief's plea: “Jesus, remember me” (Lk 23:42). “At the Lord's Table we do not commemorate martyrs in the same way that we do others who rest in peace so as to pray for them, but rather that they may pray for us that we may follow in their footsteps” —St. Augustine said in one of his Sermons. At least once a year, we Christians wonder which is the sense of life and which is that of our death and resurrection. It is on All Souls' day, which St. Augustine has separated from All Saints' Day.

Mankind’s sufferings are the same as those of the Church and, without any doubt, they both believe that all human suffering means somehow the loss of life. This is why the loss of a dearest one provokes such an unbearable pain that not even faith may alleviate it. Thus, men have always desired to bestow honors on their departed ones. Memory is, in fact, one way to make present those who are no longer by our side, to perpetuate their life. But time makes our remembrances of their psychological and social mechanisms fade gradually. Yet, if from a strictly human point of view this can drive us to be anguished, as Christians, thanks to the resurrection, we may have peace. The advantage of our believing in the resurrection is that it allows us to trust that, despite our oblivion, we shall meet again in the other life.

A second advantage is that, by remembering the deceased, we also pray for them. We do it from the bottom of our heart, through our intimacy with God, and each time we pray together in the Eucharist: in front of the mystery of death and life, we are not alone but we share it as members of Christ's Body. Even more so: we see the Cross, suspended between Heaven and Earth, and we know that a communion between us and our departed loved ones has been established. Hence, as St. Francis gratefully proclaimed: “Praise to You, O Lord our God, for our Sister Death.”