November 2, 2016 - 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.”

John 6:37-40

The idea of an afterlife has lost favor with many Christians.  Maybe it just seems too good to be true, or like wishful thinking.  Why do we treat a pessimistic world view as more inherently trustworthy than an optimistic one?  

Judaism arose and thrived for several centuries without the expectation of an afterlife.  About two centuries before Jesus was born the idea took root until, in Jesus’s day, it was widely accepted.  Whether there was an afterlife or not was a principal difference between the Pharisees, who believed in an afterlife, and the Sadducees who did not. 

In multiple instances in the Gospels Jesus affirmed his own belief in an afterlife.  In today’s reading, Jesus indicates that we’re all going to make it: no one will be rejected, and none will be lost.  All will be invited - the good and the bad alike.