“I have come in order that you might have life – life in all its fullness.” (Jn 10:10)
All of us are constantly on a search; a search which will lead us to the better. For some the search is at a basic level of their living, a search for daily sustenance. For others the search is at a much higher level, a search to find meaning in life, a higher purpose. This search leads us to take different paths in life. Some search for meaning in the worldly things, while others move up the order to find meaning in spiritual things.
We have examples of two people who set out on a similar search. On the one hand, Alexander the Great thought that he could be happy if he has the whole world, and he set out to conquer the world. On the other hand, Francis of Assisi thought that he could be happy if he loses even what he has and he renounced all his possessions. A search for happiness leads these two men on different paths. But now when we look back at the lives of these two men, we realize who actually found true happiness, true satisfaction. Alexander may have died an unsatisfied man, but Francis of Assisi experienced the fullness of Life.
For all of us who are constantly on a search, Jesus offers us fullness of Life; a life that does not require more; a life that is always content; a life of true satisfaction. What more do we need? Having the necessary things while we live in this world is important, but overly dependant on these worldly things and seeking more and more of them hinders the real growth of a person. We begin at a physical level, where all these worldly things are necessary, but the fullness of Life, which Jesus offers, lifts us up to the spiritual level, where I no longer depend on these same worldly things. This does not mean that I give them up, but it just means that I trust in God more than in these things. It means that I seek God more than I seek these things.
Jesus showed us what this fullness of Life means. He offered this fullness of Life to his apostles and disciples. At first, many of these followed him because he could give them bread to eat. But Jesus says to them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves” (John 6:26). But gradually these same people begin to trust in Jesus and follow him for a different purpose. We learn from Luke’s gospel that Jesus sends out seventy-two on a mission, many of whom were probably from this same group of disciples. This mission was with a clear intention and instruction – Do not take a purse or bag or sandals. They had to fully trust and depend on God. And Luke says that the seventy-two returned with joy (Luke 10:17). They were joyful in spite of having no possession.
This is the fullness of Life that Jesus offers. He lifts us up from our daily living to a higher living. The struggles of daily life will still remain, but they will not bother us. We may not have everything, but we will be content with what we have. We will be happy. After all, happiness is what we all seek. At the end of our lives, this is all that we will need – the fullness of Life.
Let us learn to rise up, from our physical level to the spiritual level. From seeking the bread to seeking the bread of Life – Jesus. Lent is a good time for us to practice detachment. As we undertake various forms of penances, let us learn to fast more of the worldly goods and feast more on spiritual goodness, the fullness of Life. Let us consciously choose to depend more on God, so that we also get a taste of what the fullness of Life in Jesus is.
Wishing you all a blessed season of Lent and an experience of fullness of Life!
Fr. Movin Menezes