The Gospel challenge to live life to its fullest

The gospels recount three instances when Jesus, the Son of God incarnate – made one like us and dwelling among us – brought someone back to life. All of these stories focus on God as the source of life and, as one would expect, there is great rejoicing.

The story where Jesus brings a woman’s son from the dead is particularly moving, even in its simplicity. When we see how deeply moved Jesus is by her plight, we see the merciful face of God. And when He says “rise up” – the same word used to describe His resurrection – He telling us He is the source of life.

In other passages, He proclaimed: “I have come that they (meaning, us) may have life” so we may have it “more abundantly.”

In these stories we are asked to look at our lives and see just how alive we really are?

In a world without faith, living life to its fullest is traveling and having big adventures, pursing interesting careers, or accomplishing great things.

The Scriptures point to something else.

Yes, the Apostle Paul has an extraordinary life. He experiences a powerful vision that knocks him off his horse. He travels across the Mediterranean world establishing faith communities. He is in a shipwreck and he gets put in prison.

But we forget the three years Paul devoted to introspection, to growing internally to the fullness of the life of God within before spending his life taking the Word to others.

And the Letter of James presents the fullness of life in another context. He outlines the rules of relating to one another in daily life, respectful of each other. The extraordinarily rich life of God in ordinary living.

The Scriptures, then, invite us to pause and reflect on how fully we are living our lives in all its dimension.

If we look around, we see many people who are barely alive due to poverty, hungry, war, migration, suffering, and so on. Are we able to see life from the eyes of the poor? How are we – individually and as a nation – bringing life to them.

And there are those around us, in our households and at work, emotionally crushed by turns of life, hungry for an act, or even a word, of kindness.

Jesus promised to give us life in great abundance. He is asking us if we are fully human, fully alive. Are we relating to God through prayer and to others in our actions? Is there great rejoice after we go past the suffering?

St. Irenaeus was fond of using this beautiful saying: “The glory of God is a person fully alive.” Are we, in our daily lives, reflecting the glory of God?