Today we offer this Mass and we remember in our thoughts and prayers, our deceased parents; those people who brought us into the world, who nurtured us, perhaps educated us in our faith, and, for some of us, encouraged us in our vocation to the religious life. Most of us miss our parents, and it’s that separation which makes us sad. I think we feel more sorry for ourselves than for our deceased parents who have gone before us, marked with the sign of faith: we miss them, and yet they have merited the destiny for which they were born: to marry, to raise a family, and to spend the remainder of eternity in the presence of the God who made us all.
I’d be astonished if all Religious Orders and Congregations didn’t have a Mass celebrated annually for the deceased parents of their members; simply because our parents are the primary benefactors of any religious community. Without our parents, and their influence on our lives, we wouldn’t be here today. And this is why today’s commemoration should be joyful rather than sad. We call to mind what we just celebrated at Christmas; the whole reason why God became a man, in order to crush the power of sin and death by means of his Sacrifice on the Cross; it is this which enables us to draw closer to the Father. He gives us the grace of repentance and forgiveness, so that we too can be with him at the end of time, when all the earth will face final judgement.
God fills every moment with his grace. The question, as always, is whether we are willing to respond to that grace, as many of our parents did. Will we allow his Holy Spirit to purify us of all that cannot stand in the light of his holiness? Will we allow the grace of our baptism and our religious profession to take deeper root in us today? The Cross of Christ is God’s judgement on every impure, selfish, and prideful motive in the human heart. May the Cross of Christ continue to judge our sin, even as it comforts us with the promise of his mercy and salvation.
We remember and we pray for the dead because it is our Christian duty. Our parents were generous in the giving of their lives so that we may be here today.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of all our deceased parents, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.