The following homily was given at a Sung Mass, offered for the victims of the terrorist attacks by the Islamic State in Paris on 13 November 2015.
In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, through the action of Christ, the Church on earth becomes united in a particular way with the Church in heaven. The Church militant and the Church triumphant are one in the adoration of the fullness of God, assisted in that worship by the angels and saints. Here, also, we are one with the Church expectant; that is those who have died and now undergo the final preparation for heaven. These souls the Church rightly calls “holy” because they are in the hands of God; they are being purified by God in preparation for eternity in his presence. Through the offering of suffrage for the faithful departed, as through almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance, those of us who remain here below have an opportunity to assist these holy souls, not changing the outcome as in a bribe, but pleading God’s inevitable mercy as an act of charity on our part, for our beloved dead.