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Feast of the Holy Souls 2008

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Fr.Paul Weinberger

Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 199
Location: Greenville, Texas

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:47 am    Post subject: Feast of the Holy Souls 2008 Reply with quote

Feast of the Holy Souls 2008

Homily by:
Fr. Paul Weinberger
Saint William the Confessor Catholic Church
Greenville, Texas
November 1, 2008

For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life and I shall raise him on the last day.

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

Look at the cover of the bulletin. It is very similar to what St. Jerome understood. St Jerome is the one to whom we are so grateful, having brought together all the parts of the Bible that we use today, and then was ratified by the Church. St Jerome used to have on his table a skull, a human skull, so that he would always recognize that one day death would come for him.

The cover of the bulletin says, “ In the blink of an eye.” And under one arm that figure of death has a coffin, obviously the coffin of a child. In the other hand, if you can call it that, just the bones are snuffing out the light of a candle… a symbol of death. Then you see all kinds of trapping, some from the Church, some from the world, and you see one foot is placed on a globe; it’s universal. Everyone dies. Ten out of ten people die. That is a line from the movie “Bella.”

Now everyone here is different from everyone else in size, shape, background, and color. In every way we are different. Our abilities are different but there are two things about us that are the same. The world over, in any generation, we come from God and we are going to God. We come from God. Only God can create life. Parents are pro-creators with God. Without God it is not possible to create life. We are going to God. Now a lot of people misinterpret going to God, but if you look on the cover on the bulletin you see that those two lines are reminders of the last four things, Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. These are the four last things we should focus on every day. Some people however look at going to God as going to Heaven. After death we go to God, that’s the judgment part. Some people envision it like a cannonball, somehow flying over the right shoulder of God without him knowing it. Maybe God bent down to tie his shoelace or something like that. No, that is ridiculous and is not what we believe.

We believe that we come from God and we go to God to be judged and in the end we will end up in one of two places, Heaven or Hell. For people, who get too complacent about all this, just read the New Testament. Do a word search on the New Testament and you will find that Jesus speaks of Hell more often than Heaven in the New Testament. We just all presume that going to God means going to Heaven. Those of other faiths also influence some Catholics, but our Catholic faith teaches us that we come from God and at the end of our life we go to God to be judged. There is death, judgment, Heaven or Hell. Fr. Corapi always mentions this in his sermons, that in the end there will only be you or I and God, and Heaven or Hell. That’s it! There will be no world and no purgatory at the end of the world. Today is All Souls Day and the emphasis is on the dearly departed and on the teaching of purgatory.

A few weeks ago a man drove up to an abortion clinic to drop off his granddaughter. He had a large cross hanging from the rearview mirror. I asked him how he could reconcile his faith in Christ with what he was doing allowing and helping his granddaughter to do. He didn’t like that. I told him that God is pro life and he said, “No He isn’t.” Well, that is not an argument and I was looking for an argument, but it is a fact, God is pro life. You may not like it but that is the truth. Again and again in the New Testament Jesus says, “I Am come that you may have life and have it to the fullest.” So, God is pro life. The Doctrine of Purgatory is something that you and I must believe and if you don’t like it or understand it, it is probably because it has not been studied.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is very inexpensive. It is online as well. If you look at the index in the back under “P” and find Purgatory”, it will send you to the following paragraphs, 1030-1032. There are also footnotes that lead us to some Church Fathers and also to places in Scripture, like the ones at Mass today.

Last night I got called to the hospital to see a lady I have never met; she is dying. The people at the hospital believe that she is in her last 24 hours. She is hooked up to machines and there are nurses and doctors there and they can do nothing for her. Notice how the focus turns from this world to, “That is all we can do.” So, I prayed Psalm 23 as that woman lay there dying. The last 24 hours of life is also something that you and I have in common. There will be a time when people will stand around us or no one will stand around us and we will experience the last 24 hours of this life.

The back of the bulletin speaks of the requirements for gaining a Plenary Indulgence for a soul in Purgatory on this feast day. The Church is mother and teacher; a good mother is a good teacher and she is always trying to get her children to do what is best for them, even when the children rebel. I was processing into Mass this morning and as I looked around I saw mothers trying to do exactly that, to get their children to do the right thing.

If you look at the things required for a Plenary Indulgence, they are things we should be doing every day. Now you see the wisdom of the Church. For example, one requirement is to visit a Church. Another is to say one Our Father and the Creed and yet another is to say an Our Father and a Hail Mary for the intentions of the pope. We must worthily receive Holy Communion and make a Sacramental Confession within a week, either before or after All Souls Day, while being free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin. That last one is a lot, to renounce your favorite programs or your favorite discussion topic that is sinful. Whatever it is, you can’t do it on your own so I would suggest referring to John 16:23, where Jesus says, “Whatever you ask the Father in my Name it will be given to you.” All of this is getting you ready for an indulgence but also for the last 24 hours of your life.

Last week in the homily I mentioned the post - synodal apostolic exhortation of Pope John Paul II on Confession. It is called “Reconciliation and Penance”. It came out in 1984. Pope John Paul came here in 1979, fresh, strong, vibrant, and vigorous. He’d studied the reports that bishops send to Rome and said to one of the bishops after celebrating Mass in a stadium here, “I read all your reports about how no one goes to Confession in this country; how is it that everyone goes to Communion?” He was throwing it right back on them. In the document I just mentioned he talks about something that has been a treasure of the Church for centuries, but the last 40 years it kind of fell out of favor. It is called a Confession of Devotion.

Let me tell you how a Confession of Devotion would go. Someone goes into the Confessional and tells the priest that it has been a week since their last Confession and they are not aware of any mortal sins that have not been confessed, but they are sorry for all their venial sins and just want the grace from the Sacrament. In the last 30 or 40 years if you go to a lot of priests and try to make a Confession of Devotion, the priest will get mad and throw you out. I have heard this from a lot of people and they don’t know each other so it must be true. What? They get thrown out for not having mortal sins and just want the grace of the Sacrament? Some priests don’t want to be bothered and tell you to come back when you have some “real” sins. How would you like those to be the parting words when your kids are going out on Saturday night? ”Lets see, it is 8 pm, don’t come home until you have committed some really serious sins. Goodnight!” What craziness is this? It has been said.

Transcribers note: Fr. Denis O’Brien, God rest his soul, would always tell people to confess even their venial sins because Christ died for those sins too.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta went to Confession every day. We just found out that she had a terrible gambling addiction. [Laughter] OF COURSE NOT! Why would Blessed Mother Teresa go to Confession every day? She made a Confession of Devotion; she knew that great demands were placed upon her and that she would be called upon to do great things and so she would need the grace of the Sacrament. Lets fast forward to the last 24 hours of that great woman’s life. In her last 24 hours and ours, something that will assist us in a big way when people all around us can do nothing, will be those Confessions of Devotions. This has to be reclaimed and I have to say that Confessions in this parish have been steadily on the rise. They were good at the beginning and they have grown in number. Along with that are also Confessions of Devotion.

Preparing for the last 24 hours of our lives is something that we have to do everyday and this Prayer for the Dead is typical of what the Church as a good mother is trying to do for us. Everyone who dies but is not yet ready to go to Heaven will go to Purgatory. But, everyone who is in Purgatory is guaranteed Heaven. Okay? Lets say someone is in Purgatory, and how do we know someone is there? Does a light go off? No, we should always pray for the dearly departed. I bet a lot of children don’t even know the prayer, “May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen”. This should be said just after saying grace after meals. I will leave that for another time.

We should pray always and we are so concerned that we are sending too many prayers to God for the dearly departed. Oh please, spare me if you believe that. It is like we are polluting the ozone with too many prayers. Gimme a break. Some people think that they may be praying for someone already in Heaven. You can always ask God that if the person is already in Heaven to allow your prayers to go to the person in Purgatory most in need. Say someone comes out of Confession and they are given a penance, a hundred Rosaries or something like that. That is not what penances are if you think that is true. Anyway they come out of the Confessional and get distracted and they don’t do their penance and then later on they die. Is God just going to look the other way? No, it is something that has to be done. This person died after having confessed all their mortal sins but there was some temporal punishment due to sin.

On the bulletin you can read about that; it is called “The Technical Stuff”. When you start reading it you see that it is kind of “technical”. That is why Chris calls it “The technical Stuff.” For example, my dad died five years ago…may he rest in peace. If my dad is still in purgatory I could offer a Plenary Indulgence on his behalf today and any temporal punishment, which would be in a sense to his credit, would be released.

Look around this Church. Turn around and look. Our whole parish is not here at this Mass today; they are never at one Mass but come to the different Masses offered on the weekend or they don’t come. But, the people we see here today are not the whole parish, we only see those who are here for the 9:30 am Mass. The fact is that it is the same thing with the Church. All of the Church on earth right now is not all of the Church. We also have the Church in Heaven and the Church that is on the way there. We call the Church on the way, the Church in Purgatory, the Church suffering. That is what this day is about, to remember them.

There was a priest that lived with me for 3 ½ years. I am sure he didn’t have to do more penance. Msgr. had been a priest for about 50 years and he was treated very well at his previous parish, Christ the King in Dallas. When he came to live with me, I treated him like…well; I used to call him Msgr. Rodney Daingerfield. [Laughter] The people at Christ the King gave him all kinds of respect and I used to joke around with him and give him no respect. He knew I respected him but you know what I mean. He would get frustrated and tell me that I was making him suffer too much. I would tell him that suffering was helping him on his way to Heaven. He’d agree. I would tell him that when he gets to Heaven he would be adoring God, and everyone adoring God would be praying for everyone that helped them get to Heaven, so when he got to Heaven he would be praying for me. He would say, “Arghh!” [Laughter] Think about that; everyone that you help get to Heaven and everyone you encourage on the way, your last 24 hours of life are not spent alone. Even if you cannot see them you are not alone.

I am going to end where I started. Some may say that they do not believe in all this stuff. People who say that are people who have never read about it, never prayed about it, or never discussed it. It is so interesting how that man in the parking lot in front of that abortion clinic could just say so dogmatically that God is not pro life. I was glad I was standing back in case the lightening bolt came down. Of course Go is pro life! So, when people say that they don’t believe in Purgatory let me tell you what that is code for. You see, when we believe in Purgatory it means we have an obligation and responsibility to pray for those there. People just want to believe their loved ones are already in Heaven and be done with it and then they don’t have to be inconvenienced. Isn’t that sad? Ask your children about prayers for the dead and ask when the last time was that they prayed for the dead. One day you will be dead and if children have not learned all of this they won’t be praying for you; they won’t know that they should.

This day is kind of like a heart attack; a heart attack will really get your attention I am told, and All Souls Day and its somber mood is supposed to get our attention back to where it is supposed to be and on what is most important. Can you think of something more important than Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell? The answer for me is, “NO!” If we prayed, went to Confession, and received Holy Communion worthily while thinking of others every day, the world would be a better place and our homes would be better homes.

For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life and I shall raise him on the last day.

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
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