Saturday, April 16 ~ Third Week in the Season of Easter
Holy Gospel: John 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.”
Meditation: Jesus stated that he is the bread of heaven, the very life of God given to us as spiritual food to sustain us on our journey to the promised land of heaven. Jesus did not leave any middle ground for his hearers. They must either accept his word as divine or reject it as the claim of an imposter. Even the apostles admitted that this was a “hard saying”. This expression meant that it was not just hard to understand, but hard to accept. Jesus pressed the issue with his beloved disciples because he wanted to test their faith and loyalty. Jesus promised his disciples nothing less than the full blessing of eternal life and union with God. Jesus assures his disciples that it is his heavenly Father who invites and who gives the grace to follow even in the “hard sayings”. Jesus knew that some would not only reject him and his word, but would do so with hatred and violence, even betraying him to his enemies.
Prayer: O God, who in the font of Baptism have made new those who believe in you, keep safe those reborn in Christ, that, defeating every onslaught of error, they may faithfully preserve the grace of your blessing. 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: It was through the gift of faith that Peter came to understand that Jesus was the true Messiah, the Holy One of God. He believed in the words which Jesus spoke, because he accepted Jesus as the Son of God and savior of the world. Faith is a personal response to God’s revelation of himself to us. Faith is the key to understanding and experiencing God’s action and work in our personal lives. Do you believe, as Peter did, that Jesus can change your life because he has the words of everlasting life? Ask the Lord to increase your faith that you may grow in your relationship with him and in the knowledge of his love for you.
Scripture passages (NAB translation) courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;
prayers are from The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing, 2011;
information about saints, solemnities, feasts and memorials courtesy of Catholic Culture.