2 November [All Souls]
Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me: that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father: that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day."
“Everything that the Father gives me will come to me.” What can this statement mean? One way of groping for its meaning is to see how I would have to change it if I were to apply it to myself. Everything that the Father gives me does not come to me – because I resist it, or disregard it, or neglect it…. God gives me physical health, but I damage it in many ways. God gives me freedom, but I make myself a slave of habit or even addiction. God gives me intelligence and imagination, but I use them for selfish advantage…. No, almost everything that the Father gives me is twisted by the way I receive it – if I consent to receive it at all.
But everything that the Father gives to Jesus he receives fully; he will never disown it, because he is completely vulnerable to God, he does not live from his ego, he is completely transparent. What does the Father give him? He gives us into his hands. We have been “drawn by the Father,” John says, a little further on (verse 44); and “no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father” (verse 65). We could not be in safer hands. We are safer in his hands than in our own: more faithful, more hopeful, more loving – freer in every way, if we can identify with his vulnerability to God and his transparency.
On this day we remember “all souls,” all who have died. They have passed beyond our sight, they have gone into the invisible, they have something of the transparency of Jesus. Our judgments follow them to the grave, but they have been given for safe keeping to Jesus who received them from his Father, the Father who judges no one (Jn 5:22). The Father who “chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4) does not abandon them when their world has fallen apart.
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