Fr Casey Ureta, Filipino Chaplain of the Diocese of Broken Bay, delivered the homily for an advanced Mass for All Souls' Day at Pinegrove Memorial Park on Saturday. 30 October 2010. The following are some of the words of wisdom that he imparted to a group of about 1500 Filipinos who attended that day. These came from my scribbled notes so these would not be verbatim but the essence would be there. [BRoME]
We have come to remember and to pray. Coming to this place, there is always a memory. All Souls' Day is a time when we flock to the cemeteries, gather our families, have a picnic, play cards like pusoy, or mahjong. We may stay the whole day, pitch a tent. Only in the Philippines is this done, Not in Australia, not in Europe.
It is our expression of love for our (departed) loved ones. We treat them like they were still alive. How we treat our dead reminds me of my own mortality. My life will not go on forever. One day in our life, our life has to stop,when and where, we do not know. It is a reality that none of us can escape.
Death can come anytime. This man was watching rugby on the telly while his wife was cooking. When the wife called him to eat, he was already dead. Heart attack. Was it because of excitement? Or because of frustration?
The (declared) saints have been elevated by the Church because of sanctity they lived. They were also people just like us but they carried out the will of God during their lifetime. Mary Mackillop was canonised just two weeks ago. The saints were declared saints by the life they lived - according to the will of God. They are like stars shining in heaven.
Holiness demands a constant effort. Every day like this is a blessing. Thank the Lord. We discover holiness intimately which inspires us to be a blessing to others. The Beatitudes were the Magna Carta of the life of Jesus. With Him, the impossible becomes possible. Only with His help can we be perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect' (Mat 5:48).
Holiness is not being in church every Sunday, or praying the rosary everyday or a book of novenas. These are not the source of holiness. These things are good but they are not complete. Holiness is living our lives day by day according to the Gospel, with faith and good works. Living a Christian life nowadays is difficult because there are many distractions. It is not easy, but it is possible.
Be aware that life is short. Live life to the fullest. As St Paul says in 2Tim 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Our life is like a prayer, it can be short or long. Live life to the fullest, living the Gospel everyday.
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