Yesterday the church celebrated all those who have run the good race and are now in the presence of God interceding for us. Today the Church turns our attention to those who have yet to complete the last leg of the race.
I know that there are those who will deny the concept of purgatory because the word isn't in the Bible, or see it as old-fashioned or outdated. In reality, it is the necessary and logical consequence of justice.
We believe that justice is a part of natural law. It is more than a social convention. It is rooted in God who is the only perfectly just one. In God we find both mercy and justice perfectly balanced.
When we sin there is a twofold consequence. One that relates to our eternal salvation and the other the temporal punishment due in justice. When the child breaks your window with a baseball and says I'm sorry, in mercy, you may forgive him. But in justice he still owes you for the window. The person who has committed horrible crimes her whole life and converts on her deathbed is forgiven. But in justice there is still a price to be payed for the life of sin. And which of us can hope do die sin free?
The scriptures are filled with passages that remind us that our words must be linked to actions.
Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
For this reason, we not only ask for forgiveness but we also DO penance.
Today we pray for all those who have fallen asleep, that their final cleansing, their purgatory will be complete and they may enter the company of the saints we celebrated yesterday.
Today is also a reminder to each of us of the need not only to ask forgiveness but to do penance for the sins we have committed that we too may one day join the company of the saints in heaven.