The Inheritors of Eternal Life
Reflection on the Gospel of the Tuesday In The Thirty-First Week In Ordinary Time
John 6:37-40 (All Souls Day)
This reading is part of the Bread of Life discourse, to be found in Chapter 6, of John’s Gospel. There are many controversial (i.e. controversial to the Jews of Jesus’ time) statements that Jesus speaks of in this chapter. For example, Jesus speaks of eating His flesh and drinking His blood. In all the drama that is being played out in this passage, we may over look the significance of verse 40.
- Verse 40a:
- For this is the will of my Father,
- that every one who sees the Son and believes in him
- should have eternal life;
We do know that God wills that all humanity be saved, and be back in full common with himself. and the words used here to express this is ‘Eternal Life’. These words are also used in John 3:16. But here the text is slightly different. It speaks of everyone who see Jesus as the Christ, the one sent from God, God from God, that person will be saved. There is a precedence for this in the Old Testament. The incident with the Bronze Serpent. At a stage in their Desert Wandering, the Israelites started complaining and grumbling, and God sent serpents in their midst. Everyone who was bitten by these serpents, died. To give hope, deliverance and healing, God instructed Moses to make a serpent of Bronze and mount it on a pole in the middle of the Israelite Camp. When anyone who was bitten looked at the Bronze Serpent was healed.
In the New Testament there are two graphic narrations of this happening. While on the Cross, one of the thief hanging beside Jesus, put faith in Jesus as Lord, God and Saviour and implored him to remember Him when he come into his Kingdom. Jesus replies by saying. “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Next is the Marvelous testimony of the Centurion in charge of Jesus’ crucifixion, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” He had seen and he had believed in the Crucified Lord.
We are those snake bitten Israelites, headed for sure death. But God in His mercy has given us the sure remedy to be saved and delivered from the hands of death. So lift up your eyes, look at the crucified Saviour, cry like another Centurion, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.” Tell Jesus your anguish, disappointments, uncertainty and confusion. And then like the Thief, ask him to be mindful of you and grant you the freedom that comes from his presence in our Life.