2 Maccabees 12:43-46

Brothers and Sisters,

The focus of our prayers for the month of November is the dead in Christ.  Our family members, our friends, members of our parishes, and all the faithfully departed are those whom the Church focuses Her prayer this month.

The month of November was chosen because it is the end of the liturgical year.  The calendar year for the Church ends with the Solemnity of Christ the King at the end of November; the readings for Mass leading up to Christ the King focus on His return.

Of course, Christ’s return was prophesied even before He was born.  First and Second Maccabees were written sometime between 150-50BC.  In these books, we see an expectation that the Messiah will return and raise the dead back to life.

However, this hope of resurrection was never a “get out of jail free card.”  Instead, this is gives us the duty – a requirement – to pray for the dead.  Those who have died were not perfect, and we do not do them any good by deciding that they are in Heaven.  If we love them and care for them, we must pray for the happy repose of their souls.

Again, remember the actions of the soldiers in Second Maccabees.  They prayed for the dead, they offered sacrifice for the dead, they knew that the trials of the dead were not yet over.  The dead still have their sins; through our penance and our prayer for them, we can make atonement for them (see 2 Macc 12:46).

Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them.

May they rest in peace. Amen.

May their souls and the souls of all the faithfully departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.  Amen.

God be near,

Father Jeremy