That All May be Saved
The 2nd reading today gives us two very important statements. On the one hand, St. Paul tells us that God wishes “that all men be saved.” On the other hand, we are told that “there is one God and one mediator…Jesus Christ.” In a society filled with all kinds of religious beliefs, these statements might seem to be at odds. If there is no salvation apart from Jesus, how can “all men be saved” without Jesus?
First, we have to realize that not all will be saved. It is true that Jesus died for everyone, but not all will accept him. We can sometimes think of our Catholic faith as no more than “one road among many” all leading to the same place, namely heaven. This is actually a heresy known as “indifferentism.” This heresy teaches that it doesn’t really make a difference what religious faith you practice so long as you do it faithfully. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Our Catholic faith is special. Jesus Christ died for our sins because we really needed to be saved that we might go to heaven. Jesus died that he might give us the Church, his bride. He wanted us to have the Eucharist, the Sacraments, and the fullness of the faith. To say that it doesn’t matter whether you’re Catholic or not is to say that Jesus died for us, but it wasn’t necessary and doesn’t really matter because everyone goes to heaven anyway. It’s easy to see why this is a heresy.
But what about all the non-Catholics? The Church teaches that everyone who goes to heaven only does so because of the death of Jesus. However, not everyone really knows Jesus. This is why we have to evangelize. Thus, the Church also teaches that those who “through no fault of their own” do not know Jesus or his Church can also be saved. It doesn’t mean that it will be easy, but it is possible.
We should in fact rejoice to be Catholic and want everyone to share in the fullness of the truth. However, the sad reality is that we as Catholics often take our faith for granted. Many Protestants do a whole lot better with what they’ve got. Many Catholics are going to be surprised to see how many good Muslims, Jews, Protestants, and others are in heaven. God does indeed will that all might be saved. Let us resolve to do our best to make sure that we’re in that number when the saints go marching in.