There is an old story told of a Rabbi and his wife who had two sons, the delight of their lives.
One day, while the Rabbi was off teaching the people his two sons became suddenly ill and died in their home. The Rabbi’s wife was sorrowed to tears and unsure how to tell the Rabbi the news that their sons had died. So she covered their bodies with a sheet and left them on the bed in a side room.
When the Rabbi returned home for the noontime meal he asked where his two sons were. His wife made some excuse and then proposed a question to him. “Husband, she said, I am placed in a great difficulty. Someone has entrusted to me a precious possession to care for while they were away for a very long time. They have now returned asking for their possessions back. I have grown very fond of these valuables. Am I obliged to give them back? What am I to do?”
The Rabbi was surprised that his wife would ask such a question, knowing she was a good and honest woman. “Of course, you must restore to another that which is theirs”, he said.
The wife then asked her husband to follow her into the side room where she pulled back the sheet covering their dead sons. The Rabbi cried out, “My sons, my sons!” and began to weep bitterly.
His wife said, “The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.’ You have always taught the people to return, without reluctance, that which is lent to us for our happiness. We have returned our two sons, who brought joy to our lives, to God, the Father of all mercies.”
On this day dedicated to remembering the souls of our dearly departed, let us be consoled in the hope found in the resurrection. Our God, who loves us so much, asks that we, His precious children, be returned to Him by those entrusted to love and care for us in this life; giving them joy for their lives. He has given us the means by which we may return into His embrace through His Son, Jesus Christ.
The Father has entrusted to His Son all whom the Father has given Him. He does not reject anyone whom His Father has given Him. He does the Father’s will in raising up all who believe in Him, - into eternal life - in joy and peace of the Father’s heavenly kingdom.
That we grieve the loss of our loved ones is expected because we have grown fond of those precious possessions entrusted to our care by our heavenly Father. But we live in hope and expectation of being reunited with them in the joys of His heavenly kingdom. This is the hope and joy we have in Christ Jesus. ‘May He enlighten our inner most vision that we may know the great hope to which we are called, the wealth of His glorious heritage, freely given to all members of His holy church.’
By His cross and resurrection he has opened the path to new life: where all who believe in Him shall attain salvation. Through His sacrifice we will be joined together in communion with His saints, with all the angels and the heavenly host in our Father’s house forever and ever. ~Amen