As I was to begin this reflection I struggled to stop tears from my eyes as I remembered the death of my cousin – Anna, who was like a twin sister to me though she was about four months older than me. We started primary school together and were the best of friends. Each time I remember her it feels like she died just yesterday. Not that I have not lost some relatives after her death, but her death was the one that really hit me strongly probably because we were the best of friends and she died at a very young age when we were in the early years of our secondary school education (year seven). Anna was a very nice young girl and her deep and abiding faith was there for everyone to see at that early age. As I was thinking about Anna and the reality of death and the pains it has caused in the lives of many people, the reassuring words from the book of Wisdom 3: 1 which reads: “The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God and no torment shall touch them,” came to my mind like a dew in a consoling manner.
The first reading today offers hope in the midst of darkness, hopelessness and death. For “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food … he will destroy Death forever...” Here our heart is drawn to God’s love and power over creation. In a special way, this solemnity offers us the opportunity to pray for all our loved ones who have gone before us. It also reminds us of the life that God has given us and the need to live our lives with total hope in Jesus the conqueror of death. May “Jesus who ‘unburdens’ our burden with his burden” be our peace.