THIS WEEK'S GOOD NEWS
Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed Isaiah 25:6-9 Romand 5:5-11 John 6:37-40
PAUL's argument, in the second reading, is a strong one. When we were still sinful people, with our hearts turned away from God, God loved us so much that in Jesus he took our brokenness and sin upon himself that we might be transformed and able to share his own life.
NoW that this has happened God cannot love us any the less than when we were still caught up in our sin, for he loves his own Son in us — even though we still have to allow his love to become fully effective within us. This assures us that he will bring to fulfilment all that he has intended for us.
We need to be convinced of these truths not only in our minds but in our hearts. The Spirit brings us into a personal awareness of the love God has for us. This is why our hope is not deceptive. For it is not founded on our human understanding but on the revelation that God himself places in our hearts.
"I have come from heaven, not to do my own will, but to do the will of the one who sent me." The will of God is his longing for his people. For Jesus to do his Father's will was above all to receive his Father's love and to allow that love to come to expression in every circumstance of his life.
"Yes, it is my Father's will that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life and that I shall raise him up on the last day." The Father's will for us is that we should receive all that he has done for us in Jesus.
It is that we receive his love and, like Jesus, bring it to expression in every moment of our life. Each one of us should come into full communion of life with himself. This is eternal life.
The Holy Spirit is the love which unites Father and Son while allowing them to remain distinct persons. And the same Holy Spirit draws us into that same intimacy of life with the Father that Jesus himself experiences.
Eternal life is not just for the future, though it will come to fulfilment after death. But it is that life which is beginning now. When through death we are raised up to share the life of the risen Christ this will be the consummation of what is being formed in us now. It is because now we are entering into communion of life with God through the Holy Spirit that this can come to fulfilment after death.
". . . that I should lose nothing of all he has given to me." All that forms a genuine part of our human life now, that enters into our communion with God now, will have some place in our enternal destiny. All our creative work, our enjoyment of the beauty of God's creation, our experience of true loving relationships, will enter into our eternal reality.
We cannot now picture what this will be like. It is a great mystery. But we do know that nothing will be lost. God does not create a world and then annihilate it as if it had no lasting value. He does not create human persons who will be changed into something other than human.
Everything that means anything to us now, every smallest thing that brings a smile or tear, will in some way participate in our eternal destiny.
God will indeed, in the beautiful words of Isaiah "wipe away the tears from every cheek, he will take away his people's shame." And on that day we shall all cry out with joy, 'See, this is our God in whom we hoped for salvation; we exult and we rejoice that he has saved us.'
Michael Simpson, SJ