Our first reading is from Chapter Five of the First letter of St. John. Today’s passage seems to be one side of a dispute John had with some doubters. With our not being able to see the other side of this dispute, we have trouble seeing just what John was getting at. However, there is one sentence which we can take on its own. It is this:
“God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”
That one sentence contains the whole of the Gospel. You might say, “Oh no! There is more to the Gospel than that.” But really, the Gospel is all there. We have all heard that the word gospel means good news. Well, the good news is no more than this: Through Jesus we can have life that will never end.
Are there no conditions attached? Does eternal life come to all of us automatically? Well, John does state one condition. He says we must believe that Christ will give us eternal life.
This belief cannot be wishy-washy. A popular song leaves the matter somewhat in doubt when it says, “If there is going to be a life hereafter, and somehow I am sure there’s going to be.” We can’t get by saying, “If there is going to be a life hereafter.” No. We must step aside from the doubters with whom we share this century. We must throw every ounce of our being into an act of trust in God’s promise.