Scripture: 1st Reading: Acts8,26-40; Resp. Psalm: Ps66,8-9,16-17,20; Gosp. Accl.: Jn6,51; Gospel: Jn6,44-51
Faith in the Son guarantees eternal life. We cannot come to the Father except through His Son who gives eternal life to anyone who comes to Him. The Father is the One who draws souls to the Son. When one comes to the Son, it means that person has heard and learned from the Father.
The Son has seen the Father and does the works of the Father. Whoever believes in Him has eternal life. Many of us grope in darkness. We are prone to error. We are hungry for the truth. We are harassed by waves of human opinions. We are thirsty for righteousness. We are desirous of a perfect union with God. Our Lord today gives us some clues to these probings of life.
Our Lord says He is the bread of life. Just as bread is an indispensable staple in practically every human culture, so too the Risen Lord is indispensable if we hope to enter heaven. As Living Bread, He is different from the manna that the Jews ate in the wilderness. They ate that food but they still died. It was food for this life, for the sustenance of the body.
The bread that our Lord was going to give was quite different. He was the bread that came down from heaven that a man eats and does not die but lives forever. That bread which our Lord gives is His flesh for the life of the world.
Can we see the immensity of the love of Jesus for us? Not content with the fact that He was going to die for us, He decided to give us Himself as food for our journey through life. What an infinitely compassionate God we have and serve. What an unfathomable goodness and love. What an inexpressible depth of mercy!
These are the mysteries that Philip explained to the Eunuch on that desert road from Jerusalem to Gaza that day. The mystery of the Sheep that is led to the slaughter or the Lamb before its shearer. The mystery of the Lamb who was silent before His persecutors, the Lamb, the God of justice, who in His humiliation was denied justice. This is the mystery of the Lamb whose life was taken up from the earth. This is the mystery of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the only Son of God.
That life-giving Bread is the One He makes Himself for each and everyone of us. That Bread is not a metaphor: that Bread is real food and that Blood is real drink. It is present every day on all the altars in Catholic Churches all over the world until the Lord will return again. He makes Himself that Bread whenever the Eucharist is celebrated in His memory. That is His promise when at the Last Supper He gave the command to His Apostles to do it in His memory.
As we meditate on these words, let us ask ourselves if we form part of the body that eats His Body and drinks His Blood. Let us ask ourselves what prevents us from obeying that His command to take and eat His Body, to take and drink His Blood. If we do eat and drink, are we becoming every day what we eat and drink? Are we being transformed by the heavenly food that is given to us free of charge day by day?
Let us pray: "Almighty ever living God, let us feel your compassion more readily during these days when, by your gift, we have known it more fully, so that those you have freed from the darkness of error, may cling more firmly to the teachings of your truth." Amen
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.