From Father Andrew Bahhi: Remembering the Faithful Departed

When I see the church is full of believers, my heart is full of joy and happiness. And more than me, our heavenly father is full of joy and happiness. He is very happy as he sees all his children coming to His House.

Today is called the Sunday for all the Faithful Departed, all those who were one day with us here on earth and then they joined the rest of the people of heaven. And today, we had a special prayer for those people.

First, a lesson about that from the Holy Liturgy.

There are times during Liturgy when the Abouna turns his back to you, so I wanted to explain that. He uses a chalice, and he uses a plate. Usually, the priest puts the bread on the plate, and the wine/water mix in the chalice. And after the prayers, he consecrates both as the blood and body of Jesus Christ.

Certain other times, the priest holds the spoon to prepare your communion. And then we recite the words of Jesus from the Bible “Do this in remembrance of me,” and Abouna hits the plate and chalice with the spoon. Jesus told this to the disciples at the last supper, which is why we do the Liturgy.

In the verses:

1 Corinthians 11:26 – “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

And then at 1 Corinthians 15:52 – “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.”

And finally, in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”

– hitting the spoon signifies the sound of the trumpet.

And that is why at every Liturgy, this is an opportunity to remember his death and to remember that he will come back very fast.

Are we ready for his second coming?

We know people of all ages who are the departed. Are we ready to join them? As St. Luke says, “For the son of man is coming at an hour we do not expect.”

We speak of those who are physically dead and the spiritually dead, as well. They may be on the earth still, but their heart is not in the right place.

Jesus opened the unknown for the dead, as he told the thief while they were both on the cross — “Truly I tell you today you will be with me in Paradise.” And now the departed go to Paradise, and the people with no faith go to hell.

The reward is their hope. When Jesus comes for the second time, he will take them to eternal life. Those in hell, meanwhile are without hope and will face eternal death upon the second coming.

So, the Sunday for the Faithful Departed is a call for every one of us – where do you want to be? The answer is yours. If you want to be in Paradise with the saints and all those people who pleased God in their lives, all you have to do is open your heart to him and say “Save me. Forgive me. Give me time to serve you, to give good deeds. Before the second coming and day of judgment.”

Learn more in Father Andrew’s sermon video here.