Holy Spirit Province Saint-Esprit
Franciscans of Canada - Franciscains du Canada
Ordo Fratrum Minorum
Maybe not as familiar as John 3:16. I don’t think I’ve ever seen John 10:10 posters at any sports events, concerts or wrestling matches. Yet John 10:10 is a powerful line of scripture and dovetails nicely with John 3.16: “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
God with us! God not watching us from are afar. God here and now, the God of life.
What is John 10:10?
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
There it is – the love of God, the life of Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit – the fulfillment of God’s all encompassing, embracing promise for people and creation – LIFE! Everlasting life!
Life – abundant life! And we are offered that each and every day. No, we are not offered that we are gifted that each and every single day. We the people of the resurrection, we have life post the cross and the empty tomb and it is abundant and everlasting.
I can hear some of you right now… Really? Abundant? Right now? As I am locked up in my house going on week 8 or 9? As I can’t go see my friends or do what I want to do? As I watch with sadness the way this pandemic has gripped the world and wonder if it has impacted our humanity in any way?
Yup I have those questions too. But really the answer is Yes! Each of us whether whispered or shouted the answer is yes, we have life in abundance. Through out these past weeks of social distancing and isolation the true roots of life have taken root, the buds of new life have sprouted and the garden gate has again been flung open for us. However, it is only if I stop and look bigger, wider, within and without that I can see the abundance of life now and not get lost in the what can seem like a narrow vision of a vast pandemic. How we choose to express this life and its abundance all depends on which gate we are standing at.
In the gospel of John, the same chapter 10, Jesus says “I am the gate.” I believe that we open many gates in our journey. Some good, some not so good, but ultimately, we are led to this one true gate. So which gate are we standing at?
Are we standing at the gate of self-pity because I CAN’T get what I WANT right now?
Are we standing at the gate of ‘oh those poor people so sad for them”?
Are we standing at the gate of WHEN will I GET my life back?
Or are we standing at the gate of Jesus?
The gate which is THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE.
The gate which is opening us up to self-reflection, depths beyond our wants, stirring our hearts to a fullness of life we have been filling with illusions.
The gate which opens our hearts up not to simply see our neighbours, or those locked in isolation, or the poor, or even our front line workers but to actually connect with them at this gate which is solidarity, appreciation, support, mercy and the concrete actions of life-giving ways of every persons worth. Worth simply because we belong to God not because of what we do, can’t do, what we become or fail to become, how we survive or thrive through this time.
The gate which is always open is never about getting our life back, why stay in an empty tomb? It is always about us stepping more aware and confident into the abundant life which is ours.
This gate is open to us but tells us that abundant life is not selfish or hoarding, rather it is giving, emptying, freeing and everlasting. Isn’t that the gate to stand at? Even if it means letting go, going deeper, leaving the surface illusions or the tough double bottled locks we seal? Is this not the gate of the empty tomb and new life?
Life is indeed a grand adventure, an unknown discovery, and beautiful mystery. One with twists and turns, rises and falls, doors and gates and windows and each day we are gifted with an abundance of it. 24 hours gifted to us. Which gates do you need to close? Which gates are luring you away from life? Which gates have led you closer to the Gate of Gates? Which gate are you walking through today?
Life in abundance today, tomorrow,
now, then, yesterday, forever.
The gate is open…