November 1 is All Saints Day in honor of our loved ones who have gone ahead of us. Traditionally, we celebrate it by going into cemeteries and visit the tombs. Because of the pandemic, this was not allowed. It was done days before November 1.
In the Bible, we can read that kings, prophets and other prominent figures were buried in tombs. Some of them can still be visited in the modern Israel.
What are the reasons on why it is important to visit the tombs of our loved ones?
First, by visiting, we can remember our own mortality.
Sometimes, we have to be reminded that our time will soon come, and we will die. A popular religious tract made by Rev. Ernesto Uncho, and distributed in cemeteriws before was entitled “Subong Buhi, Bwas Patay – You are alive not but you may be dead tomorrow.”
So, if you visit the cemetery, remember your limited time on Earth, and think about where you want to spend your eternity. You may live up to 80 to more than a hundred, but it is still short compared to forever.
If you want to be spend eternity in heaven, then accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
Second, by visiting, we can give thanks to God because of their lives.
The Israelites had the tradition of putting up pillars so that they can remember what God has done for them during that time.
Jacob also put up a pillar in the tomb of his beloved wife, Rachel. This pillar became a symbol of how God is faithful to Jacob whose name was changed by God into Israel. Even up to now it is a holy site in Israel.
So, give thanks to God for our loved ones throughout the generations. You are now what you are because of your bloodline, and how God weaved their lives until you came into being.
Third, by visiting, we can remember the legacies of our loved ones, and commit to continue it.
In Hebrews 11:4 we can read that although Abel was dead for a long time, his life still speaks to us.
So, let us keep alive the legacies of our loved ones by telling their stories again and again, and learn from them. Let us pass on these stories to the next generation so that they will not be forgotten, and that they may still speak to their great great grandchildren.
We may not visit the cemetery because of the pandemic but just be sure to remember the memories of our dearly departed loved ones.
May God bless us all!
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
Director, Office of Communications
Central Philippine University