4TH MAY 2022
Acts 8:1b-8, Ps 66:1-3a, 4-7a, Gospel Jn 6:35-40
“…WHOEVER COMES TO ME WILL NEVER BE HUNGRY, AND WHOEVER BELIEVES IN ME WILL NEVER BE THIRSTY”
The readings for today emphasize the notion that Jesus will never abandon those whom He has gained for Himself and gathered into His fold and presence. God had always provided us with several possibilities and chances, one after the other. He never loses upon us, even when we reject His love and efforts.
We must see how, in the Acts of the Apostles, the people of Faith, despite being persecuted harshly and greatly for their faith in Jesus, persevered through and braved the difficult times and challenges in going forth to preach the Good News to all those who have yet to hear the truth of Christ's salvation of all peoples. Similarly, even though, speaking out in defense of his faith would very certainly result in his execution at the hands of his opponents, St. Stephen persisted to do what was right.
Therefore, we too, who believe in the Lord Jesus as our Lord and God, as our King and Redeemer, must also have the same spirit and courage as that of St. Stephen; to carry the truth of Christ to all of the ends of the earth.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus first states, “I am the bread of life”, emphasizing His Eucharistic doctrine. But about two-thirds of the way through the passage, He focuses on the sort of action a shepherd carries out. He states: “This is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me”.
Those people had followed Him for the material bread, which had satisfied their hunger the day before when Jesus performed the multiplication of the loaves; they had not realized that the bread, broken for so many, for the multitude, was an expression of Jesus' love. They had invested more importance in that loaf of bread than in the person who had given it to them.
Before this spiritual blindness, Jesus highlights the importance of reaching beyond the gift to discover and learn about the donor. God is both the giver and the receiver of the gift. People can find the One who gives it, who is God, in that bread, from that gesture. Jesus asks them to consider a perspective that isn't limited to the daily requirements of eating, dressing, succeeding, and establishing a job.
Jesus speaks of another food. He speaks of food that is incorruptible and which is good to seek and gather. He exhorts: “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you” (v. 27). That is to say, seek salvation, the encounter with God which is the food for the soul that endures forever.