Gospel Reflections

Feast of All Souls

John 6:37-40

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Mary O'Brien

Published: November 02, 2018


In the Gospel for the Feast of All Souls Jesus speaks of the future with a hope which contains a certainty. ‘Yes, it is my Father’s will that whoever sees the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life.’

On this feast day and throughout the month of November we remember those who have gone before us into the arms of God.  This day is a reminder that those who have lived still live but in a very different way – a way which we cannot imagine.  There are very many ways in which we hear the life of heaven being described: eternal rest in God; joyful adoration; being with others who have already arrived; being in the presence of God; being completely known and loved forever.  And so we can continue with variations of what we understand about life after death.  No one knows the ‘answers’ so we can have as many ideas as we like and can use different ones in varying situations.

The thought of death can bring so many emotions and thoughts but we will only know what heaven is like at our own time of transition.  For us here on earth death is a departure after which we cannot communicate as we are accustomed to with those who have gone before us.  In these days instant communication is almost taken for granted but death is the event which brings us to a full stop.  Those whom we know we mourn and have to have faith that they are at rest and that we will not see them again in this life.  We remember our Sisters, relatives and friends and at times tell stories of those whom we have known and loved in the past.  In some way they live and love again in our talking about them.  But they are not with us and that is the lesson which we learn as life goes on.

The Feast of All Souls is a day to pray for those who have died and to recognise that we are all living and growing and maturing so that we too will at some time be taken by God through death into eternal life. It is sometimes said that God takes each soul when they are at their very best, having been made ready for that which we remember from our Catechism lessons. ‘God made us to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this world and to be with Him for ever in the next.’

And to return to the Gospel of the day: 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.

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