Wednesday, April 13 ~ Third Week in the Season of Easter
Saint Martin I, Pope and Martyr
Holy Gospel: John 6:35-40 Jesus said to the crowds, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. But I told you that although you have seen me, you do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.”
Meditation: For us to more fully understand who Jesus is, we need to understand why he called himself the “bread of life.” The Jews understood that God promised them manna from heaven to sustain them on their journey to the promised land. Bread is the very staple of life. We could not live without food for very long. Bread sustains us. But what, then, is life? Jesus clearly meant something more than mere physical existence. The life Jesus refers to is connected with God, the author of life. Real life is a relationship with the living God, a relationship of trust, love, obedience. This is what Jesus makes possible for us — a loving relationship with the God who created us for love with Him. Apart from Jesus no one can enter that kind of life and relationship.
Prayer: Grant, almighty God that we may withstand the trials of this world with invincible firmness of purpose, just as you did not allow your Martyr Pope Saint Martin the First to be daunted by threats or broken by suffering. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Ask yourself: are you satisfied with mere physical existence, or do you hunger for real life? Jesus makes three claims here. First he offers himself as spiritual food which produces the very life of God within us. Second, he promises unbroken friendship and freedom from the fear of being forsaken or cut off from God. Third, he offers us the hope of sharing in his resurrection. Those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior will be raised up to immortal life with Jesus when he comes again on the last day. Remember, our earthly journey is just that – a journey. And where our journey leads us is up to us as to whom we follow – is it Christ our shepherd and guide? Or is it someone or something else? Jesus leads us to eternal life, everything else leads to a dead end – literally! Knowing this, why would anyone choose to follow anyone or anything but Christ on our earthly journey?