Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent
“I say these things so that you may be saved,” says Jesus in today’s Gospel reading. In fact all that He said and did and whatever was said in prophecies about Jesus had this one single aim: ‘Salvation of humankind’. The author of the Gospel according to John clearly testifies that not everything about Jesus is written down, but whatever has been recorded is done so in order that we may have life (Jn 20:30-31).
Few years back, I was discussing about revelation with some devout persons. One of them said: “All that is given in the Holy Bible is given to us as a means to attain eternal life. When Jesus incarnated, His only purpose was to help us inherit eternal happiness, unlike the popular belief that Jesus came to establish happiness and peace here on earth. If so, Jesus would not have told His disciples to take up their daily cross and follow him (Mt 16:24), nor to rejoice when they were being persecuted (Mt 5:11-12). His concern was not our earthly life, but our eternal life. Wherever He taught us about life here on earth, it was because it would serve as a means to the ultimate end of human life, namely eternal life.” Ever since that conversation has stayed fresh in my mind. Very often I have found it very true. Jesus died on the Cross not to bring about justice or equality here on earth, but to usher you and me into our eternal abode.
However for most of us, this life here on earth becomes an ‘end’ and not a ‘means’ to eternal life. Recently, one youngster told me: “Father! I can give little of my time to Jesus, but not all of my life. How can I not love the world in the name of loving God? I love this life and I want to have fun.” But Scripture says: ‘Friendship with the world is enmity with God’ (James 4:4). We have experienced the pleasures of this life. But we have not really experienced the pleasure of the life united with God. Hence the world looks very attractive and God looks very demanding. But in fact, if we taste God once for real, the world and its pleasures will immediately lose their charm and become rubbish (Phil 3:8). This was the experience of the apostles and saints.
It could also become your experience, if you are ready and willing to part from the world and attach yourself to God.