“This is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me” (John 6:39).
This Easter season is filled with the beauty of Spring, memories of loss and the challenges of ordinary life. A year ago in April, my wife of 36 years died of heart failure after a long struggle. This year on the date of her death, close friends gathered with my son and me to remember Diane and the impact she had on so many lives. Having experienced her life and her death, I am both grateful and sometimes overwhelmed by how short life is and how deep is the call to trust that God is always on the side of life, both on this earth and for the new life promised by our faith.
This year I am again in daily watchful mode as Sean, my young next-door neighbor, deals with a life-threatening illness. I wake early to find the lights on next door and wait for word on his condition. My prayers and daily reading of the Scriptures urge me to ask God to keep him here with his devoted wife and to see his children grow. My faith in the promises of Easter draws me deeper into the mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus and the invitation to pray with confidence.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that his Father has willed that everyone entrusted to him should not be lost. His own death and resurrection are signs that he has been empowered to save those given to him by the Father. He will be there to catch those in free fall, holding them and keeping them safe from harm and from being lost.
Faith is a kind of safety net for us when we feel hopeless and weighed down by feelings of pain and abandonment because of crisis and illness. The grace of accompaniment and encouragement in our communities is often the hand of God extended to us in our time of need. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
We are all on this journey together. It is not God’s will that anyone be lost. Knowing that Jesus has experienced the full human journey, including death, is the promise of intimate solidarity that lifts us up when we are down and gives us hope when we have exhausted all our resources.
Long life and counting! Ad multos annos, Sean, on your 52nd birthday.