Daily Reflection
November 2nd, 1999
Todd Salzman
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls) 
Isaiah 25:6-9 
Psalm 23:1-6 
Romans 8:31-35, 37-39 
Luke 7:11-17 

I feel very fortunate to have been chosen to write a daily reflection for this day, “All Souls Day.”  Recently, my wife’s aunt passed away from a sudden heart attack.  She was only 59.  Although she had been having complications with her health for about two years, neither friends nor family realized the full extent of those complications.  Consequently, it was quite a shock when we received the phone call notifying us of her death.  Whenever I have experienced the death of someone close, the mourning process evokes very strong emotions and raises some fundamental questions about the meaning of life.  The initial emotional response is grief and sadness at the loss of a loved one.  When this subsides a bit, then the more profound questions about the meaning of life arise.  Why are we here?  What will it be like when we face our own death?  What is it like to die?  Is there an afterlife?  Though our Christian tradition has rather clear answers to many of these questions, those answers are dependent upon a faith that, for myself, is challenged when confronted with the stark reality of the finitude and fragility of human life. 

That is why today’s readings are such a comfort when remembering our friends and family who have died, and reflecting on what it means to anticipate and face our own death.  In Romans, Paul writes that NOTHING “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  The promise has been made in and through the Incarnation, and it is up to us, as people of faith, to embrace that promise and accept it as true gift.  Death is a necessary passage to eternal life.  It is not to be feared, or anticipated with great anxiety.  Paul’s words of hope and comfort in the all-encompassing love of God are reinforced in today’s Gospel. 

In Luke’s gospel, the Evangelist makes it clear that not only will the departed be taken care of, but God comforts us in our loss as well.  The focus of “The Raising of the Widow’s Son” is on the widow who has lost her only son.  Jesus has compassion on her and consoles her in her sorrow.  In doing so, he brings her son back to life.  In our Christian tradition, it is understood that the “faithful departed” are promised eternal life.  The difficult part of experiencing the death of a loved one is for those who are left behind to mourn the loss and continue on life’s journey.  As the Gospel makes clear, though, Christ has compassion on us in our suffering and is here to comfort us in that loss. 

Louise, thank you for the gift of yourself.  We wish you eternal peace and happiness. 

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.
Online Ministries 
Home Page
for Sunday
Online Retreat
Daily Readings Texts 
from the 
New American Bible
Daily Readings Texts 
from the 
RSV Bible
Spirituality Links
Saint of the Day
Collaborative Ministry Office  
Home Page
University Ministry 
Home Page
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook