In my first parish assignment in Spalding, Lincolnshire, there was a little old lady who dressed in her Sunday Best each day and cycled through the town handing out Heavenly Messages. She gave one to me, beautifully printed and in the form of a little scroll which read: Do you have the confidence that comes from knowing salvation in Christ? There’s a question. The devil would certainly like to see us go through life with our eyes fixed firmly on the ground, uncertain of the Father’s love, feeling cut off from him, and unsure of our place in his heart. But if it is the Father’s will that everyone would see and believe in his Son (John 6:40), then we need never fear the final day when Christ will return to judge the living and the dead.
Thank God our salvation is determined not by how we feel but by how we have responded to what God has done for us through Christ. We may be discouraged to find ourselves still struggling against sinful patterns of behaviour that we thought we had left behind once and for all. We may be angry at God for the death of a loved one. We may feel spiritually dry, routinely practicing our faith but not experiencing the presence of God as we once did. But the fact remains that through the Cross of Christ, sin and death have been defeated. Now, everyone who embraces Christ through repentance, faith, and daily obedience can trust in Our Lord’s promise of eternal life. That is the foundation for our joy and hope.
This is why today’s Commemoration of All Souls can be a time of rejoicing for all of us. The same Jesus who crushed the power of sin and death by means of his sacrifice on the Cross is with us today to lead us closer to the Father. He gives us the grace of repentance and forgiveness today, so that we can be with him at the end of time, when all the earth will face final judgment.
God fills every moment with his grace. The question, as always, is whether we are willing to respond. Will we allow his Holy Spirit to purify us of all that cannot stand in the light of his holiness? Will we allow our baptism into Christ to take deeper root in us today (Romans 6:3-11)? The Cross of Christ is God’s judgment on every impure, selfish, and prideful motive in the human heart.
Let us allow his Cross to continue to judge our sin, even as it comforts us with the promise of his mercy and salvation.