St. Patricks parish is in Kowloon, Hong Kong. There are four weekend Masses including a childrens Mass at 10:45, Sunday. This is the parish where I was formerly pastor. [email protected]. Cf. also Social Concerns Education: www.acpp.org -- Fr. Gene Thalman M.M.]

 

 

A DOG NAMED SPORT

2 November 2003 All Souls Sunday (B) John 11: 17-27

 

When I was about nine years old, we lived a distance from town so I didnt have other children to play with. I had a pet dog which I loved very much. His name was Sport. He was white with large tan spots. We used to play together. I loved petting his soft fur. One day, Sport went to a nearby restaurant and found a tempting pork chop. The meat was a bait full of rat poison. Sport suffered a great deal that nightthe pain was so severe that he ran up the wall of my room. We had to put him in the basement. He died that night. I was heart-broken.

 

Even very small children gradually learn about death. Today seven year old, Dubaker Klausen, gives his mother a beautiful red rose for her birthday. A couple of days latter he sees his mother sadly putting the wilted rose in the garbage can. The beautiful rose has died.

 

Or one day our mother tells us: Do you know our next door neighbor, old Mrs. Lei Wai Lin. She always gave you bean curd Popsicles. Well, there will be no more Popsicles. Mrs. Lei died last night. She is as dead as a doornail.

As we grow older, we see more and more things die: plants, animals and people. And then one day, we conclude that death is powerful and that me will die, too. Most of us in Wang Tau Hom believe that we can postpone death by good medical care and not eating too many hamburgers and French Fries. But in the long run, death is the victor.

 

Only one person was able to conquer deathJesus.

 

GODS WORD: After Jesus spent a day in Jerusalem, he would be tired and stressed out. Jesus had many enemies in Jerusalem. So in the evening, he would go to the town of Bethany, the home of his special friends: Lazarus, Martha and Mary. It was a two-mile hike. There he could take off his sandals and relax, have a good meal and engage in pleasant conversation. The family loved Jesus and he loved them.

 

Well it happened the Jesus wasnt in the area when news reached him that Lazarus was real sick. When Jesus finally reached Bethany, Martha met him. Lazarus had died four days ago. She complained: If only you had been here, you could have cured him. Quite frankly, she was upset that Jesus didnt come more quickly.

 

Jesus wanted Martha, Mary and all of us to know that death was not the end but the beginning of a new and wonderful life with God. Jesus said:

 

I am the resurrection whoever believes in me, though he should die, will come to life; and whoever believes in me will never die. Jn. 11: 25-26. (NAB)

 

To show his power over death, Jesus went to the tomb and said: Hey, Lazarus, you come on out. And Jesus got some big tough guys to remove the big stone that covered the cave in which Lazarus was buried. And out jumps Lazarusalive and well!

 

By raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus taught us that though we all will die but death is not the end but the beginning of a wonderful life-- with God, our ancestors, our relatives and friends and all the strangers we never had a chance to meet on earth.

 

CHURCHS TEACHING:

 

 

[All who die in Gods grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1030.]

 

William invited Fergus to come to his birthday party on Friday night. Fergus is delighted. But before Fergus goes to the party, he takes a shower, puts on a clean shirt and shines his shoes. It took him an hour to get ready. Then he runs to the party. He wouldnt feel comfortable going to this party if he wasnt clean and presentable.

 

All of those who died as good friends of God will certainly one day join Gods heavenly gathering with the angels, their relatives and millions of other people. However, like Fergus, some people may not wish to join Gods party right away. They wouldnt feel right about joining the heavenly party before they have cleaned up any dirty spots leftover by sins. This could take some time. And we on earth can help them get cleaned up by our prayers and sacrifices.

 

 

OUR RESPONSE:

 

1. Pray for those who have died. Perhaps they are not quite ready to live in Gods house. We at St. Patricks can help them begin their eternal happiness sooner by our prayers and sacrifices. They will be very grateful.

 

2. We can think of those who have died and remember that they love us and are with us even though at this time we cant see them. We dont want to do anything that would make our ancestors ashamed of us. We can ask their help since they still love us and want us to be happy. They also have a special in with God.

 

3. We pray and make sacrifices for all the folks who have died and are still preparing themselves to join in the heavenly festivities. Although we didnt know them here on earth, we will get to know them when we gather with them in Gods house after our own death and resurrection.

 

 

FINALE: Would you all repeat with me the words of Jesus? (Together)I am the resurrection and the life: whoever believes in me, though he should die, will come to life Jn. 11: 25-26. (NAB) Will you always remember that?

 

Yes, we will, Father!

 

HOMILETIC NOTES AND STUFF

2 November 2003 All Souls Sunday (B) John 11: 17-27

 

TWO WORDS: POOR SOULS

 

THEME: Death is a time of both sadness and consolation because it is the beginning of a new life with God. We start this new life as soon as we are ready.

 

COMMUNITY: Over two hundred elementary school children plus their parents attend this 10:45 A.M. Eucharist.

 

TEXT: Jesus told her: I am the resurrectionwhoever believes in me though he should die, will come to life. John 11: 25-26. (New American Bible)

 

DESIRED RESULT: My children now have a positive view of the death and see death as the gateway to life with God and everybody else whom Jesus saved by his Passion, Death and Resurrection. My little children can help those who have died but have not yet reached final happiness with God.

 

CHURCHS POINT OF VIEW: All who die in Gods grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. Catechism of the Catholic Church, (Mission Hills: Benziger Publishing Co, 1994), #1030, p. 268.

 

 

 

 

TIDBITS

 

In my former parish, worshippers had to pass through the Kindergarten hallway to reach the Church. At the death of one of the Catholics, I suggested that the body be brought to the Church for the Mass of Resurrection. But the Catholics objected: The Kindergarten children will see the coffin! Yet one wonders whether the children themselves already have some concerns about death. I think I was about four or five when one night I got scared of dying and went to tell my grandma.

 

Chewing, Digesting and Practicing Gods Word

2 November 2003 All Souls Sunday (B) John 11: 17-27

 

NAME_________ Grade_____________

 

1. Name the two sisters and their brother spoken of in his account:

_________ _________ ____________

2. Why didnt the apostles want Jesus to go to Bethany? Cf. John 11: 7-8.

________________________________________

3. How far was Bethany from Jerusalem? ______miles.

4. Why might a person who has died not immediately join the party of the angels and

Saints? _________________________________________

5. (Optional) Describe a time when as a child you encountered the idea of death.