4th Sunday of Easter (A) 2017

“I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” Like most of Scripture the above statement has meaning on a number of levels. Firstly it means that my life here on this physical earth is never full or complete. Can never be full and complete. All life here on earth can never be permanently sustainable. It is limited and circumscribed. It is fragile and changeable. Can swing from great to terrible. As the years go by It is subject to an ever greater need for healing. Permanent and definitive healing and fulness of life is not possible in this physical world. The life of Jesus of Nazareth was subject to the very same laws and restrictions during his whole life here on earth. For him fullness of life only came with death and resurrection. Permanent and definitive healing only came through death and resurrection into the Eternal Life of God. This is the gift he gave us. So too for you and I. Fulness of life, permanent and definitive healing will only come to us with death and resurrection into the eternal life of God. That is our destiny. That is why we were created and born. Secondly my life here on earth can have a certain direction and fulness or can be directionless and empty. Some young, unattached people, and not so young, unattached people can boast of their freedom. They can, up to a point, do what they like, when they like. But a time comes when this much vaunted freedom seems to pall, seems empty and pointless. There is something missing. It is only when their inward focused attention and self-centred concerns begin to look and focus outwards that life begins to bring a certain fulness. It is often when they commit themselves in love to another person and begin a family that their life begins to find fulness and meaning. The very sort of life they avoided in the past is the very thing which brings satisfaction, fulness and meaning to their life. So fullness of life is possible, up to a point, even here in this physical world. Strangely enough it comes, not from self-satisfaction but from selflessness. Not from acquisitiveness but from sharing. Not from freedom to do whatever I like whenever I like but from the freedom to serve the needs of others. Is this not embryonic Christianity? Is this not the first step in understanding the message of Jesus of Nazareth? Christianity is recognising all people as my immediate family – especially orphans and refugees. John 4. ‘Jesus said to them. My food is to do the will of him who sent me.’ John 6. Jesus said ‘I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me.’ How strange it is that even here on earth fullness of life only comes from looking after others, from service to others and not, as one would expect, from just looking after oneself.