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The Father’s Vision for Our Future
All Souls’s Day, The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed
“All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from Heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, you invite me to discover my identity as beloved, protected, and called to eternal life by the Father. Help me to live according to that call.
- Given by the Father: Today we pray for those who still await eternal glory in perfect unity with the Holy Trinity. In this Gospel, Jesus shares with his listeners the Father’s ultimate desire for each and every one of us. Jesus speaks these words in the synagogue at Capernaum to a multitude of people. He had performed a great miracle of the multiplication of the loaves the day before, attracting more attention. He set off for Capernaum by boat and the people followed in search of him. There Jesus offered the famous Bread of Life discourse, challenging his listeners to believe that he is the Bread of Life given by the Father. But Jesus also told them that they too were given to him by the Father. Thus, those whom the Father has given to Jesus also receive Jesus so that he may give them life through the Eucharist.
- The Will of the Father: Jesus revealed the heart of the Father. He desires that not one of those given by the Father be lost. The heart of the Father is magnanimous. His love is bountiful. He not only sends his Son to gather together a people to call his own, but also provides them with manna from Heaven. Thirteen hundred years before Jesus was incarnate, the Father called and sent Moses to his people caught in literal slavery and in danger of eternal slavery because of idol worship in their culture. He led them out of slavery into the desert, providing them with their daily bread, the manna that came down from Heaven. Today, Jesus, who is one with the Father, offers his own Body and Blood to become the manna from Heaven for those the Father wills to gather together in Christ’s mystical body, the Church. He gave his life so that not one of us would be lost. And he continues to give us his life through his Body and Blood so that we might not be lost as sojourners towards our heavenly home.
- Look to the Son: During the long trek through the desert, the chosen people were faced with many trials. The greatest trial was trust in God’s providence. Numbers 21 recounts the story of their complaint. They had no bread or water and they complained that they would die. According to the account, the Lord sent venomous snakes, and many were bitten and died. The people cried out to God in repentance and Moses interceded for them. The Lord commanded a bronze snake to be placed on a pole for the people to look at and be cured. They looked to the very thing that bit them to find their cure. So it is with Jesus, raised upon the cross. The Father will raise up to eternal life all those who look upon the Son, the Son who took upon himself the sins of the world. He “becomes sin” so we may receive the everlasting cure in salvation. Let us not take our eyes off of Jesus, for this is the gift and the will of the Father.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, grant me trust and faith in the goodness of the Father. I praise and thank you for taking on the sins of the world so that we might have eternal life. Grant that I may be a messenger of this Good News so that others will fix their gaze on you.
Resolution: Lord, today I will examine the underlying motives of my actions to see if I am motivated by fear of eternal damnation or gratitude for the gift of salvation, and to see if I operate from a paradigm of secular values or from a Christian worldview. By your grace I will trust in providence to provide for the one most important goal in life—union with you in eternity.
For Further Reflection: Audio Interview with Fr. McTeigue.
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala and “Nine Days with Mary Magdalene.”
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