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Feast of All Saints, Commemoration of All Souls Jn 6/37-40
Catholic Homilies
November 2nd, 2003 A.D.

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Feast of All Saints, Commemoration of All Souls Jn 6/37-40

This weekend is a triduum dating back to the ancient Celtic late autumn/early winter festival of Sahmain, a festival when in the northern latitudes darkness covered the sky for most of the day. It would get darker until the solstice several weeks later, but the return of light in the Celtic Lands would be celebrated only in February when it was time to plant again on the Feast of Imbolc or St. Brigid’s  day. Between the two festivals the Celts settled in for winter, venturing our in the cold and darkness only when they had. Death they felt lurked all around.  At the time of Sahmain, like all transition times, the boundaries between ordinary life and the many-colored lands became permeable and the dead could join the living, perhaps to console them, perhaps to frighten them (into paying debts they owed, for example). The trick or treat bunch keep alive the tradition of permeable boundaries as the world grows darker. They are also a promise that the living and the dead are not permanently separated. The Gospel we have chosen today is from the first mass of All Souls and contains Jesus’s promise that the Father in Heaven will not forget us.

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Once upon a time a group of marines were surrounded  in one of the many wars marines have had to fight in the last hundred years. Their radios were down, so they could not summon air or artillery support. They repelled every enemy attack but they were running low on ammunition. We need support and evacuation, said their C.O. Volunteers to go back and get it. Dead silence from the shallow, rain-filled foxholes in which they were hiding. OK, said the CO, I’ll go get it. Lieutenant, take command. Don’t go away guys, I’ll be back. There was a hollow laugh from the men. They weren’t going anywhere. They thought the CO who was younger than any of them was a coward who was “bugging out” on them. He’ll get out and he’ll forget about us. But we’re real marines. None of us will bug out. Several of them, however, admitted to themselves that they should have volunteered to go for help and beat the CO to bugging out. The night turned into daylight the rain stopped and once more the enemy attack. The Marines held their ground, but they knew that they had only enough ammo to fight off the first wave of the next attack. Then they would be road kill. Just as the enemy began to charge, a wave of American jets appeared. The enemy bugged out. They helicopter gunships hovered above. Finally troop helicopters zoomed in. The CO was standing at the door of one of them. “I told you I’d be back,” he shouted.

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The CO was standing at the door of one of them. “I told you I’d be back,” he shouted
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