March 26 – Eternal Life
Jesus said to the Jews, “Truly, truly, I say to you, if any one keeps my word, he will never see death.” The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, as did the prophets; and you say, ‘If any one keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you claim to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your God. But you have not known him; I know him. If I said, I do not know him, I should be a liar like you; but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” The Jews then said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.
If someone told us that they have found the fountain of youth and we would never die, we would think they were trying to scam us, they were crazy or both. We all die, it is a fact of life. People die everyday, everywhere. We can do things to prolong our lives, like eat right and exercise. Some may use medical advances to replace or fix body parts that are going wrong in our frail bodies, or use plastic surgery to make us look younger. All in all, there is nothing we can ultimately do, in our own power, to prevent our death.
It is only with God, the giver of life, that eternal life is for real. Jesus tells us that as long as we keep His word we can have eternal life. Jesus is eternal. John 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” When we keep the word of Jesus, we are also keeping the Word of God. God created us to live an eternal life, but punished us with death because of sin. Our physical bodies will still pass away, but our soul, the part that sets us apart from all the other creatures, was not condemned to that same death unless we reject our Creator. God gave us a way to save our lives, and all we need to do is keep the Word.
Rereading John 1:1, and looking back at Genesis 1, we learn that Jesus was not just ‘created’ at His conception, but He was working with God at the beginning of time, during Creation. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The Old Testament suggests and the New Covenant reveals the creative action of the Son and the Spirit, inseparably one with that of the Father…Creation is the common work of the Holy Trinity” (CCC 292). Therefore, Jesus had been with the Father during the fall, during the flood, and during the covenant promise given to Abraham. Jesus also says that Abraham rejoiced to also be a witness of the Word made flesh. Just think of Abraham watching the covenant promise being fulfilled right in front of his eyes! What a blessing.
Lent in Action:
Let go of a problem or worry that takes away our focus from our eternal life with God.
God our Father, in my daily life and quest to prolong my life, I sometimes lose focus on You, the provider of my eternal life. Help me to focus on the things that will bring me closer to You, and not on things of this world that distract and pass away. I ask this while focused on your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.