First Down (October 28, 2018)

Dear Friends,

We are all about to enter into the annual season of the holidays. It is definitely a different time of year where there is some celebration, being more open to helping those in need or offering a greeting that might spark more conversation. There are certainly some positive things happening during these several months that make up the holidays.

I love the fact that our Catholic faith begins this special time of year with October 31st, Halloween. In my day, it was getting a large grocery bag and going to every house in our town to receive candy. Everyone would ask each other what we were we going to dress up as for Halloween. For some, the emphasis can be too much on horror and evil. Yet, our faith history would say in earlier times people would dress to mock evil and death as having no more power over us. It was called All Hallows Eve, as the word hallow means holy, saintly. It is the eve of a special holy day called All Saints Day. It is a feast in the Church that honors all men and women whose lives were saintly, faithful to God. There is a connection to those who have gone to the Lord and we call it a “community of saints”. These are people who are role models and inspiration for living our Christian faith. Secondly, we talk to them in prayer, asking them to pray for us to our Lord. There is a connection between us and those Saints. They don’t just sit up there waiting for us rather, they are truly our patrons. Thus we say we have a patron Saint, one who understands our occupation, our situation and our struggles. We move from All Saints Day November 1st to November 2nd which is the Feast of All Souls. It is the one day that all who have died are remembered in our prayers. Scriptures reminds us to pray for those who have died. We remember them, we honor their resurrection with the Lord and we look forward to the day they receive us in God’s kingdom.

So maybe we struggle with the secular holidays for a whole host of reasons. Maybe this special week might help us to remember that we believe that death, evil and fear have no power over us.

The feast days of the Church continue throughout the upcoming weeks. Thanksgiving is the time to be grateful for all gifts. Advent is remembering Jesus came to us and will come again. Christmas recalls the Incarnation, God becoming man and dwelt among us, and the New Year, marking the beginning of another year and asking God to bless our new year.

Recalling that God is central at this time of year might help us experience these days in a new way.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric