Oct 9, 2013, 9:11 AM
The feast of All Saints and all souls are set aside to think about the Saints and the dead of our families, neighbourhood, community, society and the world at large. This commemoration takes the form of prayer to remember the dead and to remember our own selves as strangers on earth and as saints and to also remember those whose souls would suffer for a time in purgatory until they are good enough to go Heaven. These are people who need prayers to free their souls to go to Heaven since they are not capable at that time to pray for themselves.
The Catholic Church in the world and The Gambia particularly set the day apart to remember the dead. The feast falls on 1stand 2ndNovember every year. Before long, Christians organise themselves all over the country to clean the Christian cemeteries to meet up the feast. Many go there to work on the account of their parents or loved ones buried there others go there on their own account, because they shall have to die some day too.
The Christian cemetery at Banjul saw a score of Christians on the day as they celebrated Mass at the graveyard with tears in many eyes. St. Therese Catholic Church had a similar Mass, as it is common with Catholics, when thousands of worshippers gathered at their cemetery just behind their church. The introductory part of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Word were held among the dead. Many who fear death wouldn't enter the cemetery rather stayed outside of the cemetery fence.Singing and prayers continued inside the church. Fr. Tony Sonko reminded the congregation that they were all saints and that they should work hard towards it by loving one another and doing the will of God. He opined that some families would spend a lot of money on their dead, during forty days or seven days, the money he said could have been used to roof the church and to be blessed with their dead too.
The very reflective book known as Abide in My Word, in the November edition entitled, "The God of Mercy & Compassion" states "Our Father in heaven loves us perfectly. Even before anything was created, it was His intention to make us His children, gives us an inheritance with Jesus, and takes us to be with Him forever in His Kingdom. It is this glorious intention of the father that we celebrate on this feast of All Saints who reflect His glory to the world. In creating us and calling us to be his children, God offers us his own divine nature. Every one of us is called by God to be filled with His life and become "saints" that reflects His glory to the world. In creating us and calling us to be His children, God offers us His own divine nature. Every day, as we pray, read His Word, and sit quietly in his presence, we can receive life from him-life that has the power to form and transform us. At work, at home, on daily errands, we have the privilege of inviting the Lord to be with us so that His light can shine through us. Whenever we have sinned, we can run to Him for forgiveness, healing and strength. He wants to make us whole. We never stop being God's children. Loving Father that He is, he constantly wants to form us according to the desires and intentions of His own heart. Every saint in Heaven testifies to the fact that transformation into the image of Jesus is God's work; it doesn't rely only on our strength. This truth stands behind Paul's encouraging words to the Philippians: "I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). Every day, God stands ready to raise us up to a far greater plan than anything we could know on our own. No one is excluded from this calling. Our sin and weakness do not cause the Father to turn away from us. Rather He continues to draw us to his throne where we can experience His glory and be changed into his likeness. Even now, there is "a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb" (Revelation 7:9). Let us ask him for the grace to join that multitude of heavenly worshippers.
"Father, we thank you for your loving plan for us. We open our hearts to you now and ask you to fill us with your divine life. Lord, make us all into saints-men and women formed into the image of Jesus your Son." Amen!