You Will Live Again
by Fr. Jack McArdle
Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live again. (John 11:25)
This is a promise that is certainly well worth taking to heart. A promise that transcends death, and that gives certain assurances for beyond the grave, is surely something very special. It is a simple promise, very clearly spoken, with no ambiguity whatsoever. If I believe in Jesus, I will continue to live, even if the body dies. Belief in Jesus, and in his promises, provides a bridge over which we can safely cross into eternal life. We say "Dying, you destroyed our death; rising, you restored our life…".
Jesus overcame death, and we all are invited to share in that victory. This is the extraordinary story of Redemption, where Jesus did all that was necessary, where he paid the price, and where we can come along, and reap all the benefits of something we did nothing to earn. It is very important that we repeat this truth like a mantra: Our salvation is based on his Blood, and on our faith (Romans 3:25). We are saved through what Jesus has done, and because of our faith in what he offers.
There is no magic formula for impressing this truth on our minds. This happens through the inner enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. I could write "Jesus is Lord" on a page, and, to someone in China, with absolutely no knowledge of English, or of our alphabet, it would look like what Chinese writing looks to me. There is a truth behind that phrase, however, and, by simply looking at it, it is impossible to have any idea of what that truth is. It is at this stage that revelation enters in, and the lights come on, the coin drops, and suddenly, I grasp the truth, and it makes a profound impression on me.
This is uniquely the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that the Spirit would teach us all about him. Certainly, it is the work of the Spirit to reveal the truth of Jesus' promises to us. I cannot hope that any words I write during this brief reflection will go any length towards convincing you of the wonder of this promise. I am asking the Holy Spirit, however, to be in the words I write, so that you read an inspired word, a word that enters your heart as you read it, a word that becomes flesh within you.
Jesus is our Moses, who divides the Red Sea, so that we can pass over, dry-shod, into the Promised Land. He asks us to follow him, and, if we do so, we will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.(John 8:12). We follow him to Calvary, when we join our struggles to his, and this brings us, with him, right through to Easter, and to Ascension. This promise of Jesus holds up through life, and through death. It is an eternal promise, and, as Jesus says, heaven and earth will pass away before his word passes away. If we believe in him, then, even if we die, we will live again. There is no time limit on this promise. It is difficult to define the exact meaning of believe. It has nothing to do with clenched fists, gritted teeth, or flexed muscles. It is simply a quiet conviction that grows in our heart, because the seed of that belief is sown there by the Spirit. Faith is a gift of the Spirit. Not only is eternal life a gift, but even the ability to accept it, and believe in it, is also a gift.
Earlier, we reflected on another promise, where Jesus promised eternal life to those who believe in him. In this promise, he goes one step further, when he states that death does not deprive us of that eternal life. Our human life will end anyhow, because our days in the body are limited. The body is not me. I am living in the body for just a relatively short time. When the body breaks down, and is no longer habitable, I will have to change residence, and go to live elsewhere. It is then that my mortal, earthly life, will be replaced by eternal, unending life. Praise God, for the wonders of his promises!
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