Yet is their hope full of immortality.
Candy skulls, graves blanketed with flowers, and offerings of favorite foods: the Mexican celebration of Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) might seem confusing at first glance. Is it a spooky holiday full of skeletons, or is it a heartwarming tribute to family members who have gone before us?
It’s no coincidence that the Day of the Dead culminates on November 2. It has a lot in common with last weeks’ commemoration of all the faithful departed. The skulls and skeletons remind us of how short life can be. The decorations and food bring back favorite memories of loved ones and celebrate their lives. Like All Souls’ Day, the Day of the Dead gives us a chance to remember and pray for those who have died. It can help us be aware that in some way, the dead are still with us as part of the Communion of Saints. It can also remind us of the ways we can help them with our prayers. All of those things are foundation for All Souls’ Day. They spring from our human impulse to stay connected and to honor our loved ones.
That desire for connection comes from our confidence that even though death cannot be avoided, it’s not the end of the story. Losing a loved one can be devastating, but our faith tells us that “the souls of the just are in the hand of God” (Wisdom 3:1). Even if they are “chastised a little,” we believe “they shall be greatly blessed” (3:5). That’s because we were made for immortality. We all long to share the joy of heaven with God. We remember the dead because our memories keep them close in our hearts—and because it keeps heaven close to our hearts.
So if you have lost a loved one, know that they are not really gone. They are still with you, in all the memories you treasure, in all the ways they shaped your life, and in your connection with them in Christ. You can stay “connected” as you intercede that they quickly enter heavenly glory with Jesus. And you can have confidence that you will see them again.
Word Among Us