“I came that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
In our Gospel passage today, Jesus gives us what people have been searching for since the dawn of man. Mankind has always been searching for the question of happiness – what it is and how to obtain it. In the United States, we offer our citizens the right to the “pursuit of happiness” but I think our Declaration of Independence is woefully lacking by putting that line and not following it up with some asterisk or note in the margins saying something along the lines of *for more information, see John 10:10. You see, the answer has been there all along, and maybe for many of us, we hear the answer so often growing up that as adults we may be tempted to think something like, Well surely it can’t be that simple? But it is that simple, it really is. Jesus said it very clearly – He wants us to have abundant life, not just in heaven but right now, here, on earth.
In this Easter season, it is important to remember that message. This is why we celebrate as Christians this most auspicious of liturgical seasons – it is the whole reason for our faith being handed down to us today. If Christ never rose from the dead, then Christianity would never have come into existence. Yet He did – and so we celebrate. The Resurrection is the moment the world had been waiting for thousands of years – the great victory of the promised Messiah. We live in A.D. 2023, A.D. being the abbreviation for Anno Domini or in English, The Year of Our Lord. Christ is risen and abundant life is made available to all. The secret to happiness is not really a secret at all, it’s written down in the most widely available and published book since the advent of the printing press. Jesus is the Way. All happiness, fulfillment, joy and life come from a proximity to Him. As Catholics, we are blessed to be able to receive Him, every day if we want, into our very bodies through the gift of His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist – we can’t get any closer than that. So, when you’re feeling a lack of abundant life, remember the answer and exercise your right to “pursue happiness” by turning to Jesus, by going to Mass, and by spending time with Him in prayer.