If the present predicament in which we find ourselves has taught us anything,
it must be that life is a precious gift,
and that there is so much we have taken for granted.
John chapter 10 verse 10 is a key verse in the Bible.
It sets out succinctly and clearly one of Jesus' "Mission Statements" -
“I have come so that they may have life,
and have it in abundance.”
It might feel as if life is less-abundant than it was before March 2020.
I'd like to think it will have made us more appreciative of God's abundant gifting.
ABUNDANT LIFE - Eddie Askew.
Walking through the city centre I saw people with clipboards, pens poised.
With bright smiles they were approaching shoppers. “Just five minutes – to ask you a few questions.
I hope you can spare the time?”
“What newspaper do you read?”
“Which deodorant do you use?”
“How much chocolate do you buy each week?” “How much do you believe what politicians say on a scale of 1 to 10?”
Sometimes I try to side-step them,
but I must admit they rarely stop me anyway. I sometimes feel a bit left-out, ignored. Why don’t they stop me?
Isn’t my opinion valuable? When they DO stop me, they usually make it quite clear that the whole exercise is anonymous. They don’t want my name or address. They’re not interested in me as a person, not even as a name. I’m just another filled-in form to be added to all the other completed forms, to be fed into a computer, chewed and digested, the results tabulated and put on to a marketing manager’s desk.
Jesus describes himself as a Shepherd
who knows his sheep so well that he calls each of them by name. We’re not just numbers to God, we’re individuals,
valued for what and who we are, not just for bits of information we can offer to some celestial computer.
Every hair on our head is numbered;
our personalities respected. And we’re loved infinitely by an infinite God. And in the same passage from the Gospel Jesus the Shepherd offers us not an improved brand of cornflakes,but new life.
JESUS - “I have come so that they may have life,
and have it in abundance.” John 10:10
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI reflects on Jesus’ offer of life in abundance: The Divine Shepherd provides good pasture for His sheep. Jesus is that Divine Shepherd, who has come to give His flock “life in abundance.”
He is the Shepherd who knows what His sheep need. In John’s Gospel, Jesus calls Himself “the bread of life,” our food; “the way, the truth, and the life,” our path and the way things are; the “resurrection and the life,” recreating us anew. That’s who Jesus is and that’s why he came, to give us Himself. He is also the Gate. It’s through Him that we come in and go out, finding pasture, nourishment and safety.
You are not a hireling
who runs away when in danger,
but Your fidelity was tested
and proven on the wood of the Cross.
Accept the gift of our gratitude
for Your marvellous care.
Help us to hear and follow Your voice.
who protects the flock
and searches tirelessly
for those who wander from the fold,
retrieve the lost and bring them home.
Tend and heal their wounds.
who lays down His Life for His sheep,
nourish Your people with the Bread of Life,
that we may reflect Your likeness
and enjoy the spring of Living Water that never ends.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
Lord, we ask you
to open our eyes
that we may value
and appreciate all people,
recognizing what we have in common, rather than focusing
on what our differences might be.
Inspire us to distinguish
between what is important
and what is not,
and open our minds and hearts
that we may always be
people of good will
who bring life and joy
to others. (Nicholas Henderson,SJ)
We ask Mary to pray with us, as we with her
bring our care for those affected in whatever way
by the pandemic. Let us pray with her in particular
for those living lives that fall-short of "abundance".
THE REGINA COELI
Joy to thee, O Queen of Heaven!
He whom thou wast meet to bear,
As he promised, hath arisen,
Pour for us to him thy prayer, alleluia!
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia!
For the Lord is risen indeed,
O God, who through the resurrection
of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ
didst vouchsafe to give joy to the world: grant, we beseech thee, that through His Mother, the Virgin Mary,
we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord.
Alleluia! Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Let us bless the Lord!
Thanks be to God!