Nov 2 2019 Reflection
Saturday 2 November 2019
First Reading: WIS 3:1-9
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
PS 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6
Second Reading: ROM 5:5-11
Gospel Reading: JN 6:37-40
Today’s Note: The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls)
Jesus said to the crowds:
“Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.”
Is your hope in this present life only? What about the life to come after our physical death? God puts in the heart of every living person the desire for unending life and happiness. While physical death claims each of us at the appointed time, God gives us something which death cannot touch – his own divine life and sustaining power.
God does not abandon us to the realm of the dead
One of the greatest examples of faith and hope in the promise of everlasting life with God is the testimony of Job in the Old Testament. God allowed Job to be tested through great trial, suffering, and the loss of everything he had. In the midst of his sufferings Job did not waver in trusting God. In chapter 19 of the Book of Job, he exclaims:
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another” (Job 19:25-27).
Through testing and purification God strengthened Job in faith and abundantly rewarded him for his trust and hope in God’s promises.
King David also expressed his unwavering hope in the promise of everlasting life with God. In Psalm 16 David prays,
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand (Psalm 16:9-11 NIV translation).
We wait with hope for the Lord to raise us up to everlasting life
Jesus made an incredible promise to his disciples and a claim which only God can make and deliver: Whoever sees and believes in Jesus, the Son of God, shall have everlasting life and be raised up at the last day (John 6:40)! How can we see Jesus? The Lord makes his presence known to us in the reading of his word (John 14:23), in the breaking of the bread, and in his church, the body of Christ.
The Lord Jesus reveals himself in many countless ways to those who seek him with eyes of faith (Hebrews 12:2, 11:27). When we read the word of God in the Bible the Lord Jesus – who is the Word of God – speaks to us and reveals to us the mind and heart of our heavenly Father. When we approach the table of the Lord, Jesus offers himself as spiritual food which produces the very life of God within us (I am the bread of life, John 6:35). He promises unbroken fellowship and freedom from the fear of being forsaken or cut off from everlasting life with God. And he offers us the hope of sharing in his resurrection – being raised again with him to abundant life that will never end. Do you recognize the Lord’s presence in your life and do you long for the day when you will see him face to face?
The Holy Spirit is the key to growth in faith
What is the source of faith and how can we grow in it? Faith is an entirely free gift which God offers us through his Son Jesus Christ. We could not approach God if he did not first approach us and draw us to himself. The Lord Jesus gives us his Holy Spirit who works in us to open our ears to hear God’s word and to respond to it with trust and submission. The Holy Spirit is the key to our growing in faith. The Holy Spirit is our teacher and guide who makes our faith come alive as we cooperate with his help and and to his wisdom and instruction.
To live, grow, and persevere in faith to the end we must nourish it with the word of God. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) said: I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe. Jesus promises that those who accept him as their Lord and Savior and submit to his word will be raised up to everlasting life with him when he comes again at the close of this age. Is your life securely anchored to the promises of Christ and his kingdom of everlasting peace,joy, and righteousness?
“Lord Jesus Christ, your death and resurrection brought life and hope where there was once only despair and defeat. Give me unwavering faith, unshakeable hope, and the fire of your unquenchable love that I may know you fully and serve you joyfully now and for ever in your everlasting kingdom.”