Family Obligations

Feast of All Souls 2014

One of the most important aspects of the family dynamic is responsibility – obligations.  Since we were old enough to understand our families have instilled in us this integral piece of family and depended on us to fulfill our part.

Jesus tells us today[1] that his mission is to bring back to the Father everything that the Father has given him. Jesus understands our brokenness, God understands our failings and yet He wants no one to miss coming home. He tells us that His whole reason for being among us is to do His Father’s will and make sure we will be with Him forever.  That is obedient devotion!  But, it is more. He has come to do His Father’s will, which is to help His brothers and sisters. His action is one of family obligation! What great news to know that we are all loved members of God’s family.

But, His words today makes clear something else – as does Jesus, so should we. Christ’s message today lays upon us the same family obligation.  As members of this family we too need to work for each other in our journey home. Today, we celebrate the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed where we remember loved ones and pray that they are with God and all the Saints in Heaven. We participate in the economy of salvation – we are co-workers with God in the salvation of mankind.  Of course it is God alone who saves – but nonetheless our prayers are efficacious.

St. Paul in his letter to the Romans tells them and us to ‘boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation[2] This is foundational to our mission of the New Evangelization; but as we set out upon our part in this New Evangelization we need to remember that our work is more than just proclaiming the good news to those we meet. Our family obligation is more than just selectively participating in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; it is participating in them all – including praying for the dead.

We need to work for all the family – even those waiting to enter Heaven – those being purified – our faithful departed. Yesterday, we celebrated the powerful force of all the saints, both known and unknown, who help us with their prayers. Today, we observe and recommit ourselves to the work of helping those who are still on the journey and have preceded us into the eternal.  These two celebrations, taken together, are a celebration of this family dynamic – let’s do our part!

For all the faithful departed in our family:

Eternal rest, grant unto them O Lord
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.


[1] Jn 6:37-40
[2] Rom 5:11


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