A Note From Fr. Brady
As you read in last week’s bulletin and as many of you probably already knew, the month of November is dedicated to praying for the dead. On All Souls Day, perhaps the priest at the Mass you attended wore black vestments. While white, violet, or black are all legitimate options for All Souls Day (as well as funerals), black symbolizes mourning, grief, and mortality.
On the topic of our own mortality, the readings at Mass this month will include plenty of reminders of what we pray in the Nicene Creed every Sunday: He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. At his first coming 2000 years ago, Christ came to usher in the time of salvation for those who accept him. He did not come to judge the world. However, as our creed says and as Christ himself tells us in the gospels, when he returns again at the end of time, he will come as our judge. What does this mean for us who are told in our culture that judging others is one of the worst sins we can commit. While being judgmental can at times be sinful for us, the judgement that Christ will bring at his return is the farthest from sin. One thing that is hard for us to comprehend with our limited intellects is that Christ is supremely merciful and just. Thus, Christ mercifully wipes away our sins in baptism, confession, and anointing. He mercifully protects us from disasters unbeknownst to us through our guardian angel. Christ is also just. Thus, when we leave this world and when Christ returns at the end of time, we will be judged justly based on the good or evil that we have done in our lives. We will be judged on how we loved, how we placed our faith in God.
While the topic of judgement can frighten us, it need not do so. If we truly live our baptismal dignity as children of our heavenly Father, co-heirs with Christ; if we are frequenting the sacraments of confession and the Eucharist; if we are praying every day and truly striving with God’s grace for holiness, our childlike trust in God should replace any servile fear we may have.
May the month of November be a reminder for us that we will need to give an account of our lives to God. May it also remind us that while we are still in this life, there is still time to go to the Lord for his mercy in confession, mercy that we need in order to enter our judgement with confidence not in our own merits, but in the merits that Christ won for us on the Cross.