Today is the day before halloween. Unfortunately we here in Trinidad and Tobago have developed a habit of copying almost everything that we see happening in the United States, be it good or bad. Over the past few years halloween has grown in popularity here in Trinidad and Tobago. My question is if we understood what is being celebrated in halloween today will we want to participate in it? Will we want our children to participate in it?
In today’s first reading we hear St. Paul writing a very passionate letter to his friends at Philippi. He seems to take great delight in writing this letter, one of encouragement to his friends . He says and I quote “I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, praying always joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day until now” end of quote.
If St. Paul where to write to us here in Trinidad and Tobago or where ever in the world we are, would his letter have the same tone as the one written to the people of Philippi? Would he be able to give thanks to God whenever he remembers us? Would he rather not remember us at all?
Our world as we see it is in desperate need of salvation. The thing is salvation has already been given through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Yet we continue to choose darkness over light; we continue to glory in evil rather than good.
Earlier I mentioned halloween and whether we fully understood what was being celebrated in halloween today. Well halloween the word is a derivative from Holy eve. It is the eve of all saints day when we commemorate all the thousands of people who are saints but do not have a particular feast day. The original focus of halloween was to prepare for the following day, the feast of All Saints by remembering one’s favorite saints, and even dressing up like them as part of the whole act of remembrance. Thus wearing costumes and sharing treats was a way of remembering those men and women who’ve gone before us and have left behind powerful examples of living the faith well; kind of like the people of Philippi that St. Paul wrote to in the first reading.
Now, bearing the initial observance and intent of halloween in mind, how it is celebrated now not only is it a far cry from the initial intent, but I believe it places the faith and the souls of any Catholic and Christian who participate or support halloween, as it is celebrated today, in grave danger. The costumes are certainly not a reminder of the saints. In fact, the costumes glorify evil. The Saints have been replaced by demons and devils and other evil creatures. Some may not go to that extent with their costume and may choose a costume of a movie or a pop star; but is this any better? It is yet another religious celebration that has been taken and completely secularized. We have taken something that was meant to give glory to God and we are now using it to glorify the things of this world. It is the same thing we have done with the beautiful season of Christmas.
Is it all gone? Is it absolutely hopeless the situation that we have found ourselves in? The answer is absolutely no. No it is not hopeless. As long as there is life there is hope. While we may not be able to change the society’s view on how halloween ought to be celebrated, we of ourselves can re-educate those in our care of what this and all the Christian feast are about. Maybe among our family and friends, in our youth groups, we can celebrate halloween as it really should by giving glory to the One, True, Eternal God.
I wish to join my call with that of St. Paul where he says in one of his letters that it may be a wicked and perverse generation in which we live, but our lives in Jesus Christ should redeem it. Please let us allow the Spirit of the Living God to take possession of our lives so that He and He alone is glorified in us and this world may be redeemed through us.
God bless you.