by Fr. Morgan V. Rice, CSB
One of the most difficult things about having visits from my family and close friends is their departure. It is always so good to see them and spend quality time with them; however, after they leave, there is an emptiness that results even though I am confident that I shall see them again. Of course, that might not be the case. Life is so fragile and death so unpredictable, especially when we consider tragedies like the mass shooting at that First Baptist Church in Texas last weekend. We keep in prayer those families who lost loved ones in that act of violence. May God strengthen their faith, and in their emptiness, may God fill them with the hope that we hear about in this weekend’s second reading. In his first letter to the Thessalonians, St. Paul offers the Christian community some comforting words as they grieve the loss of loved ones. He reminds them of the hope that is central to Jesus’ message, the hope that has its basis in the Resurrection of Jesus. “Through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died” (4.14). We believe that the souls of the faithful departed, the souls of those for whom we pray and remember in a special way during the month of November, are with God. We, too, have that same hope, that after we are called to our eternal home, “we will be with the Lord forever” (4.17) along with the loved ones whom we look forward to seeing again. These are definitely encouraging words! So when we experience the death of a loved one, we believe it’s only bye…for now.
1 Thessalonians 4.13-18