3rd Week of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 8:26-40
The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, “Get up and head south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.” So he got up and set out. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, that is, the queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury, who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home. Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, “Go and join up with that chariot.” Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him. This was the Scripture passage he was reading: Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opened not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who will tell of his posterity? For his life is taken from the earth. Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply, “I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this? About himself, or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this Scripture passage, he proclaimed Jesus to him. As they traveled along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water. What is to prevent my being baptized?” Then he ordered the chariot to stop, and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water, and he baptized him. When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, but continued on his way rejoicing. Philip came to Azotus, and went about proclaiming the good news to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
Gospel: Jn 6:44-51
Jesus said to the crowds: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. It is written in the prophets: They shall all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.”
Who is your teacher?: Celebration of Teacher’s Day is becoming common in our days, in many cases promoted by the business world. In many cases Google and YouTube have become the teacher. There is a limit to which all of them can teach us. There is one and only one perfect Teacher. Today Jesus quoting Is 54:13, tells us They shall all be taught by God. God the Father is teaching us what we need to learn in our life. We are to be taught by God and we are to learn from the Father. Remember the words of Jesus “…for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say” (Luke 12:12). “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart” (Mt. 11:29). In your personal life, have you ever asked God to teach you? Do you have an experience of the Holy Spirit teaching you? What is it that you have learned from Jesus for your personal living?
MY FLESH FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD: Some Catholics query: is the Eucharistic celebration, a sacrifice or a meal? The answer to this question is that it is both. The Eucharist is a sacrificial meal. The altar is at the same time a dining table. What happens at the Eucharist? We take food – bread and wine – offer it to God commemorating the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. God returns it to us as the Body and Blood of Christ. We partake of that meal, and we commune with the Trinity. “The bread I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.” That is the sacrifice of Christ. “Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” This is the meal. The redemptive sacrifice of Christ becomes personalised for each of us when we participate in the sacrificial meal of the Eucharist.
Prayer: Lord, give us this bread always.
COME TO ME: Our life is a journey of faith towards the Father. This movement is stirred by an attraction to his love. It is true that faith is a free choice of our will. However, we are able to search for God because he has already found us; He is the one who draws us towards him. God searches for each one of us and seeks our company. It is also true that He does not need us, however, he loves us and desires communion with us. God´s searching will of the human person has its highest expression in the Son. God, out of love of us, has come out of himself in the Son to be one with to bring us to communion with him. Hence, the invitation of Pope Francis to the whole Church to be a `Church which goes forth´ to the `peripheries´ is not just a mere ideal; rather, the Church goes forth finds her true identity which is rooted in God´s loving search for humanity.
I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE: What happens in the Eucharist? We take bread and wine – objects of food. We offer them to God as a sacrifice. In so doing we also commemorate His incarnation, His passion, death and resurrection. God cannot eat that food. He returns them to us, as the body and blood of Jesus. When we eat it, we commune with Him. God in Jesus becomes part of us. He takes the form of bread to commune with us, offering us a possibility to share in his divinity who humbled himself to share in our humanity. When we commune with him, he shares his eternal life with us. Eternal life is life in God that is here and now. Because He is here and now. His time is eternity. Let us continue to contemplate: I am the bread of life, he who eats of it has eternal life!