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Fourth Sunday of Easter

“I came so that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” Jn.10:10


Isn’t that the goal for so many of us? Isn’t that the dream we wish could come true for us? Isn’t that the goal many of us will spend a lifetime attempting to achieve? Isn’t that the ultimate ambition we hope and pray for?


Just look at so many of our politicians and their naked ambition for power and wealth. Observe the lifestyles of the rich and powerful – their homes, their yachts, their private jets, their grandiose flaunting of lavish jewelries, their seemingly heartless disregard for those attempting to barely eke out a life free of unpaid bills and hopeless medical responsibilities.  

Then, look at our own hearts and notice what we dream about.  

Finally, notice what Jesus tells us the whole purpose of his becoming flesh and blood was ultimately all about:
I came so that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” 

So what is the “abundance” Jesus is speaking of?

Is he referring to the possibility for us to acquire more possessions, more gadgets, more comforts, more and bigger, better acquisitions of whatever kind?

Quite the contrary.

What Jesus is really talking about is our openness to receiving a gift, a grace – namely, the grace to willingly abandon the passion we too often put into acquiring more and more for ourselves, and to instead follow Jesus on a different journey.
This new quest will lead us to fill that hole in our souls that keeps us wanting more and more things, more and more possessions, or, as comedian, George Carlin, used to put it: more and more “stuff.”

Jesus is talking about that way down-deep emptiness in our lives – an emptiness that all the “stuff” in the world just doesn’t seem to fill up.

Ultimately, what Jesus is talking about is developing within ourselves an “abundance mentality,” a way of thinking and acting that says:
“There is enough for everyone – more than enough food, love … everything.”
When we live this mindset, we begin to see the miracle of what we give away multiplying to the point of having plenty left over.

That was the “miracle” of the loaves and fishes found in the Gospels.
The “miracle” is that when people share, there’s always a multitude left over.
An “abundance mentality” is the opposite of a “scarcity mentality” that always wants to hold back, refuse to share, and keep only for ourselves.    

Sadly, in our country today we are faced with a different kind of abundance – the abundance of inequality, the abundance of poverty, the abundance of mental health crises, the abundance of job loss, the abundance of homelessness, the abundance of gun violence.

These difficult times, though, can serve as a spiritual reminder – a reminder that further emphasizes the immense need for social service agencies, food banks and organizations that assist with housing, utilities, transportation costs, homelessness, and the scandalous pain of poverty.

In a famous article in the New Yorker magazine entitled “A Radical Faith: The Life and Legacy of Dorothy Day,” the author writes that, as the founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, Day is seriously considered being officially named a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

Dorothy was a woman who believed deeply that what is most needed in the world is not a violent revolution, but rather a “revolution of the heart” … precisely what Jesus himself asks of each of us in today’s Gospel, and throughout his entire ministry.

As the author of the article about Day’s life puts it:
“Even before the coronavirus devastated our economy and added millions to the unemployment rolls, half-a-million Americans were homeless, 27,000,000 lacked health insurance, 38,000,000 lived in poverty, and 40,000,000 relied on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.”

Almost one in six, nearly 17% of the people in the United States now live in poverty!

Hopefully these difficult times highlight the significance of the mushrooming need for assistance as people who made donations in the past now come seeking aid for themselves!

If there is one thing that Jesus helps us understand in today’s Gospel – and throughout his entire ministry, it is this:
True abundance comes not from what we possess, but from how deeply we love, and how generously we share.

“I came so that you might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Ted Wolgamot, Psy.D.

Art by Jim Matarelli
Sister Rachel’s Quote of the Week

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