In Rome, a burial place for the dead was called a necropolis by the pagans which simply means “place of the dead.” But Christians renamed these places and called them “cemeteries” which means, “place of rest or sleep,” to indicate their belief that those buried with Christ will be awakened to life again through the resurrection.
On this feast of All Souls, when we pray for all our loved ones who have gone before us in death, it is good to remember that death is a lot like birth. When a child is in the womb, it has what it needs: food, warmth, security. But imagine if that were all that we experienced of life! Only by being born into this world do we experience the incredible wonders that come to us through our senses. Yet most babies enter this world crying.
So too is it with death. We have in this life all that we think we need and want. We don’t want to leave it. But that’s because we can’t even imagine all that we will experience in the life to come, if only we can be born again. This weekend, in the Creed, we will profess once again, “I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen!”