Saturday 29 April 2023 – Personal relationship

3rd week of Easter

1st Reading: Acts 9:31-42

The Church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace. She was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit she grew in numbers.  As Peter was passing through every region, he went down to the holy ones living in Lydda.  There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been confined to bed for eight years, for he was paralyzed. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed.” He got up at once. And all the inhabitants of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord. Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated is Dorcas). She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving. Now during those days she fell sick and died, So, after washing her, they laid her out in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” So, Peter got up and went with them. When he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs where all the widows came to him weeping and showing him the tunics and cloaks that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed.  Then he turned to her body and said, “Tabitha, rise up.”  She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up. He gave her his hand and raised her up, and when he had called the holy ones and the widows, he presented her alive.  This became known all over Joppa, and many came to believe in the Lord.

Gospel: Jn 6:60-69

Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”  Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.  But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer walked with him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

Personal relationship: Jesus was not ready to negotiate on the question of the indissolubility of marriage (Mark 10:5-7; Mathew 19:3-5) and on the Eucharistic faith. If he were to be a politician, the withdrawal of many of his disciples because of his Eucharistic teaching would have made him re-think his position. “This is hard; who can accept it?… As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer walked with him.” However, Jesus was never ready to accommodate anyone who was not ready to accept the Eucharistic teaching. It appeared he was even ready to lose the Twelve on this doctrinal point. “Do you also want to leave?” he asked them. Some wandered off due to the sensing of the shadow of the cross while some disciples like Judas simply deteriorated due to lack of faith in his methods. Even without understanding everything, what was unshakeable in Peter was his loyalty borne of personal relationship with Jesus.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, keep us closely united with you to assist us go through the paradoxes of life and faith itself. Amen!

GOD IS OUR STRENGTH: God has granted us different talents and gifts for the purpose of his glorification. Most of the times we forget that gifts come from God and we should not boast. St. Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13).  “He who descended is the very one who ascended above all the heavens. It was he who gave all gifts to different people. Through baptism we become the witnesses of the mystery of Christ. We bear witness through our lives. However, through the Sacrament of Confirmation we receive the Holy Spirit and become defenders of our faith. God pours in us the different gifts of the Holy Spirit to go on with the proclamation of the Kingdom of God. We become the instruments in which God’s graces flow through to others.