All the Faithful Departed  

            Today, in a special way, we remember and honor our departed loved ones. We honor them with fond memories and beautiful prayers. But more than honoring them with this, we can honor them best through a life that mirrors the best dreams or wishes they had for us. We are challenged to look at our lives from above and in view of the Last Judgment.

            Today’s gospel reading presents the “how” of the last judgment. The basis of judgment is how we respond in this life to the demands of basic human needs. At the end of our earthly life, we will be judged whether we fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, visited prisoners, clothed the naked or not. At the end of time, the criteria for judging are simple: the simple deeds of mercy that we have done or failed to do.

            We should always keep in mind the words of St. John of the Cross: “In the evening of our lives we shall be judged on love.” That is why it is important that at the end of each day we should ask ourselves: “Did I love or not?” Did I love by feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, welcoming strangers, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, visiting prisoners, defending the weak? Come to think of it, people pay thousands of pesos to get to attend concerts or theatrical presentations. And that is for a few hours of happiness. To gain entrance into the kingdom of God, to inherit eternal life, we do not have to pay very dearly – we only have love dearly. And show our love for the brothers and sisters of Christ by helping them in their needs. What is asked of us is to attend to the needs of people, to be sensitive to their situation, to be compassionate. We are called to be charitable, merciful, caring in action.

            The presence of Jesus is hidden among the poor and the vulnerable: where their needs are recognized, Jesus is acknowledged. Indeed, Christ the Lord expects us to find him under human veils: So, when the hungry are fed, when the thirsty are offered drink, when strangers are extended hospitality, when the naked are covered in dignity, when the sick are cared for, when prisoners are visited, Jesus himself is touched by mercy and treated with compassion. “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers (and sisters) of mine, you did for me.”

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