St. Patrickís parish is in Kowloon, Hong Kong.Ý There are four weekend Masses including a childrenís Mass at 10:45, Sunday.Ý This is the parish where I was formerly pastor. [email protected].Ý Cf. also Social Concerns Education: www.acpp.org -- Fr. Gene Thalman M.M.]
A DOG NAMED SPORT
2 November 2003ÝÝ All Souls Sunday (B) John 11: 17-27
When I was about nine years old, we lived a distance from town so I didnít have other children to play with. I had a pet dog which I loved very much.Ý His name was Sport.Ý He was white with large tan spots.Ý We used to play together.Ý I loved petting his soft fur.Ý One day, Sport went to a nearby restaurant and found a tempting pork chop. The meat was a bait full of rat poison.Ý Sport suffered a great deal that nightóthe pain was so severe that he ran up the wall of my room.Ý We had to put him in the basement.Ý He died that night. I was heart-broken.
ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ Even very small children gradually learn about death.Ý Today seven year old, Dubaker Klausen, gives his mother a beautiful red rose for her birthday.Ý 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: ìDo you know our next door neighbor, old Mrs. Lei Wai Lin.Ý She always gave you bean curd Popsicles.Ý Well, there will be no more Popsicles. Mrs. Lei died last night.Ý She is as dead as a doornail.î
ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ As we grow older, we see more and more things die: plants, animals and people.ÝÝ And then one day, we conclude that death is powerful and that ìmeî will die, too.Ý 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.Ý But in the long run, death is the victor.Ý
Only one person was able to conquer deathóJesus.
GODíS WORD: After Jesus spent a day in Jerusalem, he would be tired and stressed out.ÝÝÝ Jesus had many enemies in Jerusalem.Ý So in the evening, he would go to the town of Bethany, the home of his special friends: Lazarus, Martha and Mary.Ý It was a two-mile hike. There he could take off his sandals and relax, have a good meal and engage in pleasant conversation.Ý The family loved Jesus and he loved them.
ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ Well it happened the Jesus wasnít in the area when news reached him that Lazarus was real sick.ÝÝ When Jesus finally reached Bethany, Martha met him.Ý Lazarus had died four days ago.Ý She complained: ìIf only you had been here, you could have cured him.î Quite frankly, she was upset that Jesus didnít come more quickly.
ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ 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.Ý Jesus said:
ìI am the resurrection whoever believes in me, though he should die, will come to life; and whoever Öbelieves in me will never die.î Jn. 11: 25-26.Ý (NAB)
ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ To show his power over death, Jesus went to the tomb and said: ìHey, Lazarus, you come on out.îÝ And Jesus got some big tough guys to remove the big stone that covered the cave in which Lazarus was buried. And out jumps Lazarusóalive and well!
ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ 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.
[ìAll who die in Godís 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.î Catechism of the Catholic Church,Ý #1030.]
ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ William invited Fergus to come to his birthday party on Friday night.Ý Fergus is delighted.Ý But before Fergus goes to the party, he takes a shower, puts on a clean shirt and shines his shoes.Ý It took him an hour to get ready.Ý Then he runs to the party.Ý He wouldnít feel comfortable going to this party if he wasnít clean and presentable.
All of those who died as good friends of God will certainly one day join Godís heavenly gathering with the angels, their relatives and millions of other people. However, like Fergus, some people may not wish to join Godís party right away.Ý They wouldnít feel right about joining the heavenly party before they have cleaned up any dirty spots leftover by sins. This could take some time.Ý And we on earth can help them get cleaned up by our prayers and sacrifices.
1. Pray for those who have died.Ý Perhaps they are not quite ready to live in Godís house.Ý We at St. Patrickís can help them begin their eternal happiness sooner by our prayers and sacrifices. They will be very grateful.
2.Ý We can think of those who have died and remember that they love us and are with us even though at this time we canít see them.Ý We donít want to do anything that would make our ancestors ashamed of us.Ý We can ask their help since they still love us and want us to be happy.Ý They also have a special ìinî with God.
3.Ý 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 didnít know them here on earth, we will get to know them when we gather with them in Godís house after our own death and resurrection.
FINALE:Ý Would you all repeat with me the words of Jesus?Ý (Together)ìI am the resurrection and the life: whoever believes in me, though he should die, will come to lifeÖî Jn. 11: 25-26.Ý (NAB)Ý Will you always remember that?
ìYes, we will, Father!î
2 November 2003ÝÝ All Souls Sunday (B) John 11: 17-27
THEME:Ý Death is a time of both sadness and consolation because it is the beginning of a new life with God.Ý We start this new life as soon as we are ready.
COMMUNITY:Ý Over two hundred elementary school children plus their parents attend this 10:45 A.M. Eucharist.
TEXT:Ý ìJesus told her: ëI am the resurrectionÖwhoever believes in me though he should die, will come to life.íî John 11: 25-26. (New American Bible)
DESIRED RESULT:Ý 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.Ý My little children can help those who have died but have not yet reached final happiness with God.
CHURCHíS POINT OF VIEW:Ý ìAll who die in Godís 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.î Catechism of the Catholic Church, (Mission Hills: Benziger Publishing Co, 1994), #1030, p. 268.
ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ In my former parish, worshippers had to pass through the Kindergarten hallway to reach the Church.Ý At the death of one of the Catholics, I suggested that the body be brought to the Church for the Mass of Resurrection.Ý But the Catholics objected: ìThe Kindergarten children will see the coffin!îÝ Yet one wonders whether the children themselves already have some concerns about death.Ý I think I was about four or five when one night I got scared of dying and went to tell my grandma.
2 November 2003ÝÝ All Souls Sunday (B)Ý John 11: 17-27
1. Name the two sisters and their brother spoken of in his account:
_________ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ _________ÝÝÝÝÝÝ ____________
2.Ý Why didnít the apostles want Jesus to go to Bethany?Ý Cf. John 11: 7-8.
3.ÝÝ How far was Bethany from Jerusalem?Ý ______miles.
4.ÝÝ Why might a person who has died not immediately join the party of the angels and
ÝÝÝÝÝ Saints?Ý _________________________________________
5.ÝÝ (Optional) Describe a time when as a child you encountered the idea of death.