Acts 2:14 a, 36-41; John 10:1-10
Today the gospel ends with Jesus proclaiming that, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” Is it abundant yet?!
About 15 years ago when I was ministering in Moab we did a study group using the book, Simpler Living, Compassionate Life: A Christian Perspective. The book was sort of a study guide to help us determine if we were pursuing the ‘good life’ guided by our own version of the American Dream or were we more focused on the Abundant Life which Jesus promises.
In general, the ‘good life’ revolved around an attempt to maximize our prosperity, comfort, fun, personal security, autonomy and personal aggrandizement. We were encouraged to reflect on how well our pursuits resulted in real happiness.
Then we were led through prayerful exercises to help understand the ‘Abundant Life’ that Jesus promised; a life of deep inner peace and joy. Abundant life is not constant happiness and the total absence of pain or anxiety, but rather it’s the deep sense of knowing that GOD and LIFE are bigger and more powerful than the little things we humans so often pursue. The Abundant Life helps us keep things in perspective amid the many changes and crises of earthly existence.
True Abundance leads us into a deeper appreciation of the many gifts that God has given us so that we know how we fit into the Body of Christ, God’s True flock. When we understand how we fit into God’s flock, we don’t need to self-promote or over-assert our ideas and vision. We won’t be misled by others who self-promote (the thieves) and will lead us astray, ultimately to destruction and hell.
As we continue through Easter season and ponder the many questions of our now Corona dominated existence, how might we see God guiding us into His care? Might Peter from the first reading also be reminding us to ‘save ourselves from this corrupt generation’? Who are the ‘thieves’ trying to lead us over the fence, rather than through the gate? To what form of ‘corruption’ might we be most vulnerable as individuals and as a nation and as a species? Can we see the gate that Jesus is leading us through? How can we know if we are hearing the voice of the Good Shephard and on our way to the Abundant Life?
Concerned about our young people who have jumped over the fence? If you have not already done so, please watch this short youtube from the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops: