John 6: 44-51
Acts 8:26-40 / Psa 66
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.
If we cannot believe the Word
That the Bread of Life has given,
How can we be worth the reward
Of eternal life in heaven?
“No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ ” (John 6:44-51)
The Jews were now getting restless with what Jesus was saying about Himself. They knew who He was– the son of the carpenter Joseph and Mary. They could not comprehend what he was claiming, that He was “the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.” Their problem was they were taking the words of our Lord too literally. But the future generations of Christians, to whom for the most part Jesus was addressing His message, would come to understand what Jesus meant. He was the Word of God Who became flesh, and “eating His flesh” simply meant assimilating the Word of God into our life. To become Christ-like, we have to absorb all His teachings and His values that we read about in the Bible.
It was harder for the disciples in Jesus’ time, who had to undergo a mental struggle, suspending their doubts and understanding in order to establish a closer relationship with their Master. When the Jews asked Jesus, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” His ready answer was, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the One He sent” (Jn.6:28-29).
For those who doubt the authenticity of the bible, it would be a futile effort to try and breach the gap between knowledge and faith. After all, there is a world of difference between knowing and believing. Suffice it to say that most of our questions in this life will only be answered in the next. We cannot deny the truth in Jesus Christ, Who is also our Way and our Life. Following the Father’s will through the words of Jesus must be our predominant quest in life, not in trying to understand the mysteries that baffle us. When our faith has been put to the test, then the truth will be revealed to us through the power of the Holy Spirit. This was what happened to the
Ethiopian eunuch in today’s first reading. The Holy Spirit brought the apostle Philip to him, and he came to believe in Jesus Christ and was immediately baptized afterwards.
In time we too will be inspired by the parables and teachings of Jesus in the Bible, which we once found difficult to understand. In the meantime, we must humbly accept what we cannot comprehend as truth, like the Holy Eucharist in the Mass as Jesus Christ Himself, “sent down from heaven.”
Grant me the grace to hold fast to Your Word, Lord Jesus, even if I still do not see the full significance of Your message. Help me believe the words of St. Paul that “at present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.” (1 Cor. 13:12.) Amen.