A Matter of Faith

John 6:44-51
Acts 8:26-40 / Ps 66

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.
(John 6:47-48)

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)

Reflection

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.” Like the Jews in Jesus’ time, we may have to undergo a mental struggle, or even suspend our doubts and human understanding, if we are to enter into a mystical relationship with God. It’s a futile effort to try and breach the gap between knowledge and faith. There’s a world of difference between knowing and believing. But by believing we have the hope that we “shall all be taught by God” through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

When the Jews asked Jesus earlier, “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). ‘Just believe Me, that’s all it takes,’ He seemed to be saying.

In the first reading, we read about the Ethiopian eunuch, who must have been a highly intelligent man, because he was a court official in charge of the treasury of the queen of Ethiopia (Acts 8:27); and yet he could not understand the scriptures of Isaiah. But because he was seeking the truth, the Holy Spirit opened his eyes through the teaching of the deacon Philip. Even the pool of water for his baptism was provided by the Holy Spirit, even though they were travelling in a desert.

Like the Ethiopian eunuch, many of our questions in this life may remain unanswered. But because of our faith, we have found 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 primary 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. In time we 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 miracle of 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.

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