Readings: Isaiah 25, 6a.7-9
Book of Revelations 21, 1-5a. 6b-7
Saint Luke 23, 44-46.50.52-53 24,1-6a
During a coffee with a fellow-Priest it was said:" The Churchyards are now at their Sunday best". Well we have to think about that. Easter was in April and getting closer to our Summer we are busy talking about death. And then about life! After celebrating All Saints today we shall celebrate All Souls tomorrow, Friday. These feasts are coupled together because all Saints, who have passed away and all those others who passed away belong together. And who decides exactly to who is Holy? However the feast of All Souls is an experience which is more important then All Saints for a lot of people.
Personaly I am pleased with these two feast days, because in our secular world we are so busy with the frontiers of life and death.
Recently a person paid for the front page of of a local newspaper and announced his own death. In discussions about this the words "mercy and compassion " are requently being used. Compassion in order to be allowed the plan the time of your death, because you are "finished" with life. Tell me, when are you finished with your life ? Jesus was definately not finished with His life, but He died all the same. Surrendering:" Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit".
Jesus is never finished with His life, that is why at the Mission we will come together at Mass tomorrow to continue to fnish what He could not finish. How ?
Usually as a Priest in my work with the Liturgy I am not so charmed about the cut and paste of many Bible texts ( al though the Rabbi's in Jesus's time did this a lot)But this evening I can see some meaning in this. Some sentences about the death of Jesus, His surrender into the hands of God, His Father and giving up the Ghost. Then follows a short passage the Easter Message is being announced:"Dont seek Him amongst the dead. He is not here. He has risen!" Life and death are kept together. Is this something that is asked from us this evening?
And this is very demanding to do. Our Governments want to break the taboo's, the taboo which does not allow you to decide your end.
But perhaps taboo's will play a role in our lives. There are matters that we consider to be Holy. Life is exceptionally Holy.
And you experience this when someone you dearly love passes away. Someone who shared your life in Love.
There will be a number of people coming to the Mass on All Souls Day, because they have been confronted with death in this year.
And it is not death in general, but the passing of a loved human being. Then our thought patterns about a ' completed life" change.
Then you realize that your work in this life is never complete. It could well be that one of us feels exhausted, but what you stood for in this life, it is never completed. This world needs so many people, who kick-off every day in love and humanity.
When Jesus commits His Spirit into the hands of God, does He give His Spirit to His Father only or also to us? And what do we do with it? Are we too occupied with death and all that is dead and passes away? Something that takes your purpose of living and joy of living away? Or..are we focused on comforting one another and passing on the message of Salvation in a climate of good hope?
We cannot prevent someone's passing way. At some stage all of us will pass away. That is the truth. But they way we handle can make a world of difference.
Sure, let us remember our dead. But let us not forget the Holy Spirit ,which has been given to us, let us not bury it.
He is not here. He has risen. This encouragement to living life in a joyful way is given to us all. That is our Catholic Faith and we may trust in it. We are allowed to awake this trust in so many others.
Father Ed Bakker,
Priest and Missioner,
Anglican Catholic Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne,