I suppose it is not surprising that very few people seem to know what Hallowe’en is all about. It is simply the Eve of All Hallows Day – All Saints Day as we more often call it; and we make fun of evil and death at this time because we know that in Christ all such things have been defeated. The problem is that nowadays most people do not take tales of spooks and monsters seriously, they just see it as a good excuse to have a bit of fun.
The Book of Revelation often called the Apocalypse from where we get our first reading faces the same problem as Hallowe’en. The writer also wanted to convey the immense victory over evil won for us by Christ, and heaps on endless stories of monsters and dragons and the like which most of us just cannot take very seriously, and so just like Hallowe’en the real point is lost.
If we are to understand the victory, we need to understand what the enemy is, so perhaps we should translate all those monsters and spooks into what really troubles us in the 21stC; and that is surely not monsters around us but monsters in our minds.
It is surely Sigmund Freud and his followers who have made this transformation in our modern minds so complete, and made us now dismiss so many things as “simply in the mind” and not to be taken seriously. Yet mental illness of one kind or another where the things in our mind overwhelm us and take us into darkness and despair is all too common, and cannot be taken lightly.
The Book of Revelation does not pretend the the defeat of evil can be taken lightly. God does and will win the victory, and we can rejoice that we are part of the great company of saints who are part of that victory, but there are many wounds on the way, and we need to know that not only is there victory at the end, but even in the darkest moments of our lives when despair strikes us down, God is walking with us, and so – even though it may be a great struggle – we can walk on.