It was during our celebration of All Saints day and All Souls day that we farewell a visiting priest to our parish. Coming from India Father continues a series of sub-continental priests to fill in the shortage in our diocese. The next is already here and we anxiously await for his contribution to the parish life.
Nonetheless, during his final homily (his homilies are quite divisive; he uses scripture, like Hendrix uses a guitar, to call us to account which is confronting to some people) he spoke about the celebrations of All Saints / All Souls as a celebration of the Church Glorified (or Redeemed), the Church Suffering, and the Church Militant.
If these terms are new to you its basically a recognition of the three states of the people of God: those in Heaven are the Church Glorified (and is celebrated during All Saints), those in Purgatory are the Church Suffering (and is celebrated during All Souls), and those of us still working out our salvation with fear and trembling are the Church Militant, for we are still battling the evil one. (For scriptural support of purgatory I point you to 1 Cor 3:12-15).
It was, in his usual custom, both comforting and confronting to hear about the reality of Hell from the ambo. Where much soothsaying is normally found the font runneth dry, at least for a time. But the point was clearly made that life is eternal and we end up in either Heaven or Hell which is determined by our choices. Life does not end here.
As Father was saying his goodbyes to parishioners during the week it was pointed out to him that in Australia we don’t say “good bye”, we say “see ya later.” So just as the words of scripture do not end on the page, just as the ministry of the priest does not end in the parish, life does not end on earth. In each of these cases we can truly say “See ya later.”
So while Father continues his ministry elsewhere we say a big thank you for your ministry in our parish. And we extend the prayer to include all priests in their ministry. Thank you all, and “See ya later!” Join me in prayerful thanks; Our Father…