The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ;
The idea of having life abundantly would have seemed alien to those who first heard Jesus speak these words; because there was so little about their lives that would have been in abundance; at least in terms of anything they wanted or needed. Poverty, as well as the gap between rich and poor, were extreme; health care was nonexistence – people were ruled by a brutally authoritatve government that served its interests without mercy. And when people turned to the religious establishment for hope, they instead were told that the blessings of God were reserved for those who earned them by devout living and obedience to the law.
Jesus came to change all that. Instead of arriving like a thief or bandit, someone whose moves were self-serving, Jesus came to offer the gift of love without conditons and the promise that, even in difcult times, they could experience life not in scarcity, but in the abundance of God’s blessings and grace.
In many respects, life is different in today’s world. Advances in technology and the human conditon have improved signifcantly the world around us. But many still face similar challenges to those in biblical times. In the face of personal and social affictions, we realize that many of us can still experience a life or scarcity, physically, emotionally and spiritually; a life where healing, hope and justice seeming to be the reserved blessing for others.
As an Easter people, we celebrate resurrection; not only the resurrec on of Jesus from the grave, but our resurrection from a life of scarcity and self-centeredness to one of abundance through God’s blessings of new life and new hope. My prayer for you during these Sundays after Easter is that you will be able to experience the hope of Jesus’ eternal presence and, through love and faith, dedicate each day to bring hope and justice to our neighbors so that, even in challenging times, they may know the hope and joy of an abundant life.