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Gospel Commentary for All Souls
By Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap
ROME, OCT. 31, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The feast of All Saints' Day and the commemoration of All the Faithful Departed have something in common, and for this reason, have been placed one after the other. Both celebrations speak to us of what's beyond. If we didn't believe in a life after death, it would not be worth it to celebrate the feast of the saints, and even less, to visit the cemetery. Who would we go to visit or why would we light a candle or bring a flower?
Thus, everything in this day invites us to a wise reflection: "Teach us to count our days," says a Psalm, "that we may gain wisdom of heart." "We live like tree leaves in autumn" (G. Ungaretti). The tree in spring blooms again, but with other leaves; the world will continue after us, but with other inhabitants. Leaves don't have a second life; they disintegrate where they fall. Does the same happen to us? That's where the analogy ends. Jesus promised: "I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in, even if he dies, will live." This is the great challenge of faith, not just for Christians, but also for Jews and Muslims, for everyone who believes in a personal God.
Those who have seen the movie "Doctor Zhivago" will remember the famous song from Lara, the sound track. The Italian version says: "I don't know what it is, but there is a place from which we will never return …"