Here it is, first week of November. You have politicians on complete opposite ends of the issue and people getting so worked up and passionate about their stands that it makes one afraid to offer an opinion, take a side. The whole Daylight Savings Time ending every November and then starting up again every March debate – can’t think of anything that consumes more energy or debate 🙂 Sorry couldn’t resist that set up.
In all seriousness though, this has actually become a regular debate. There’s been more arguments in recent years pointing to research that the switching of the clocks twice a year takes a toll on people’s physical health, their mental health (like we need any more reasons for that to be messed around with) and that there’s an increase in accidents and all sorts of other challenges as a result of the changing of the clocks. Some countries around the world have already eliminated this twice a year practice. A few months ago when we had to “Spring Forward” into Daylight Savings Time in March, there were a group of politicians proposing that we would just leave it like that, forever remain on Daylight Savings Time and not fall back again this past weekend into “Standard Time.” Then I read in the news yesterday that some local politicians in New York were working to end Daylight Savings Time, meaning we would fall back like we did yesterday but not Spring ahead in March. Supposedly both, completely opposite proposals, were dropped because of the Viral pandemic. So that’s a fun debate we can look forward to once the pandemic is over and we can get back to “normal.”
When you think about it, though, the whole Daylight Savings Time issue reveals a facade that human beings do seem to fall for: that somehow we can manipulate time. Moving the clock ahead or back doesn’t add a single minute of daylight to our lives nor subtract a second of darkness. It’s the illusion of control that makes us believe that, somehow, we can lengthen our days.
All Souls Day, which we as a Church mark today, stands in stark opposition to that facade – and kind of wins the debate pretty easily. Anytime we pass a cemetery, we are confronted with that difficult fact that eventually every single one of us will die. Despite the false assurances we give ourselves that death is something that’s a long time off – or how we fool ourselves into thinking that we somehow have control and power over our calendars, our hours, the truth is we don’t really know.
If that were the end of the homily, that would be pretty dismal. And sadder still is that there are many who do live their lives with that being the end word… with a fear or anxiety, that somehow they anesthetize themselves not to think about it and look for ways to continue to maximize that facade of control.
But as people of faith, we’re meant to look at things truthfully and honestly. We don’t hide from difficult topics, we don’t deny painful memories – and for every human being, the topic, the reality of death is probably the thing people fear the most (although as Jerry Seinfeld once observed, public speaking was rated the first thing followed by death, which he argued that means that at a funeral, people would rather be dead then having to give the eulogy)
All Souls Day we are reminded of our origins from God, and hear words from the Lord, from both the Old and New Testament assuring us of His love for us in creating us, and not to forget that as our beginning and the promise that is contained:
-The first reading from Wisdom reminded us “The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them….they are in peace.”
-We responded with those ancient words from the Psalms: “Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.”
-St. Paul who saw many of his fellow Christians martyred, was tortured, imprisoned, and eventually martyred himself remained confident as he said: just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life…we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.
-He was confident that Jesus’ promises in the Gospel, that “everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.” are worthy of trust and belief.
So All Souls Day causes us to pause and remember our family and friends who have passed away entrusting them into God’s merciful hands. We pray for all those souls who are still in purgatory – on their way into God’s presence, but are still in need of purification, freedom from anything that is holding them back – especially for those souls who may not have anyone to pray for them. As we do, we renew ourselves in hearing Jesus calling us to choose to love Him, follow Him and desire to spend all eternity with Him. To turn away from the things that cause death, namely sin, and to choose life – both for ourselves, and to be disciples who proclaim the Gospel of Life in both words, deeds…
Of all the things people debate over, that would seem to be the most efficient use of the time we have, however long it might be.