One human tragedy has become fashionable. A cheated young lover hanged himself at the veranda of his house. Suffering from long-term depression, a student jumped from the top of a his high school building. Well-travelled and admired chef Anthony Bourdain who featured culinary joys around the world claimed his own life in the dire solitude of his hotel room.

Jesus speaks today of eternal life that comes from receiving the Bread of life, his own Body, his Sacrament in the church and in the world today. But who cares about eternal life? People are renouncing their lives. People dread to wake up to another sunshine whose warmth and grace are surpassed by their enormous daily sorrows. Do Jesus’ words have an attraction to people who find life a burden more than a relief, a curse more than a blessing?

The Lord knows that deep within the heart of every creature is the desire to live. Once born human beings do not strive only for survival. We aspire for life… life eternal! But how does one fulfill this inner longing?

Some people hope to live to a ripe old age, thinking that chronological advancement to their 80’s or 90’s or even 100’s will give them more time to chase their dreams of moments with family and associates, participation in memorable events, and exploration and travel to desired destinations. Others hope to live successful, able to leave a trail and make an impact on people and places where their influence can be felt, admired, and praised long before they are gone.

However, a long life is not eternal life. A triumphant life is not life without end. Encountering Jesus, receiving him and remaining with him is the key to eternal life – a life of meaning and purpose, inner peace and joy, and abundant relationships. While idealists and romantics assign eternal life after earthly death and rebels reject eternal life as a farce, Christian faith insists that life is a continuum that starts where we are right now and endures beyond the destruction of material reality.

Those who open their hearts to the Lord experience life as interrupted by troubles, pains, and difficulties that challenge them to grow in freedom and to mature in faith, hope and love. The ones who refuse to be so loved greet life’s interruptions with anger, hatred and bitterness. All life is marked by suffering but the Christian counts the days away from the pain. He journeys with Jesus to an unending life that starts today (however challenging) and finds fulfillment in the tomorrow promised by the Lord (embraced through hope).

Let us pray for people who find no meaning in life, much less, in eternal life. As for us, may we open our hearts to Christ who is our life, our hope, and eternal reward and share this conviction with others.