Many of us carry a demon on our shoulders that whispers a dark mantra: Don’t trust God. He’s come to condemn you.” The closing line of today’s gospel unmasks that lie: I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Who is Jesus? What is his mission? Today’s gospel answers He is the one who comes to bring us new life.  Believing this deep in the marrow of our bones is vital for learning to discern which voices are from God and which are not.

I used to be terrified of the dark as a youth. But it was while meditating on this phrase that the Lord healed me of this paralyzing fear. My healing is not the exception but the rule. When we move into a deeper trust relationship, we begin to experience the power of God at work in our lives in extraordinary ways.

—J. Michael Sparough, S.J. is a Retreat Master and Spiritual Director at the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House outside Chicago. He video blog can be seen weekly at