Friday of the 3rd Week of Easter

John 6:52-59

The Bread of Life Discourse


The Eucharist has always been problematic. Since the infancy of Christianity to our days, the Christian practice of eating Christ’s flesh and drinking His blood has been misunderstood by non-Christians. Pagans accused Christians of sacrificing babies and feasting on their flesh and blood. This accusation of cannibalism has been levelled against us.

Recently in Hong Kong, a non-Christian Chinese lady came to consult some Sisters. She was worried, even horrified, about the words of song her child was singing: “eat my body, drink my blood…” the child’s nanny was a Filipina who taught the child the songs learned in Church!

“flesh and blood” signifies the totality of the human being in all its reality or solidity. In giving us His “flesh and blood”, Jesus is giving us His total self.

I have always wondered at the supreme inventiveness of divine wisdom in coming up with the Sacrament of the Eucharist. It is the unspeakable epitome of God’s total gift in the most real, accessible, and attractive form of food and drink.

Add to this the universal symbolism of table-companionship and the mystery of the Eucharist deepens. Connected with meals is the religious practice of eating animals and food sacrificed to divinity. The constant purpose of these rituals is union.

The reality and symbolic depth of the Eucharist boggles human reason, but bespeaks of divine wisdom and love. It is Christ’s total gift of self. (Fr. Willy Villegas, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


Our gospel today is a powerful reminder of what we are truly receiving in the Holy Eucharist. In the Holy Eucharist, we are not only nourished by the Word of God but we, in fact, receive Jesus Christ Himself. Every time we attend Mass and go to Holy Communion what we are receiving is not just a piece of wafer or a Consecrated Bread. It is not even a symbol of God’s presence but He is our Lord Himself, the Second Person of the Trinity, who was born of the Virgin Mary; the same Jesus who truly lived among us, who worked miracles for us and who preached the Kingdom of God; the same Jesus who suffered and died but who rose again from the dead.

Each time we celebrate or attend Mass, we are not the ones doing God a favor but it is God doing us a favor. He is the One giving His flesh and blood for us. And if we do not receive Him every time we go to Mass we are depriving ourselves of that God from heaven.

But as we receive His body and blood we are also challenged to become a source of nourishment for others. God has shown us the way and so we must pass it on, let’s be “bread and wine” also for others. (Fr. Gerry Paat, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


A story is told by an atheist who strongly opposed Christianity. One day the boat he was riding on had an accident. He was lost and, by chance, washed up on the shores of a remote newly Christianized village. He was half dead of from hunger and exhaustion when he was rescued by the people of the village. He was nursed, taken care of and was given his needs until he was restored to good health. He lived with the people and experienced their welcoming attitude and care. Even if he could not communicate with them because their language and culture were different from his, he felt at home with them and became close to them. He became one with them. Whenever some villagers got sick he attended to them, when some were hungry he gave them food, to the lonely he kept them company.

The miracle of God’s love and care that he experienced through these people made a difference in his life. He saw and believed and was convinced that God is alive and real. He saw God’s face in the love and care and compassion of the people.

The experience of this atheist finds a similarity to the story of the violent Saul of Tarsus who wanted to kill the followers of Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 9:1-2). He experienced the love and care of the Christians in Damascus when he was still blind. The event was turning point in Saul’s life. From Saul the great persecutor of Christians, he became Paul the great Apostle to the Gentiles. (Sr. Ma. Juneth Rosalita, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


An old illiterate woman in Ireland was so poor that the priest had to bring her food each week. Then he heard that she has a son in America who was successful in business. So he asked if her son ever send her anything. She replied that she only send her the same picture every month. She went to get a box with a stack of pictures which were actually one hundred dollar bills. She was rich, but didn’t know it.

Many Catholics are like that woman. They live in spiritual poverty, not knowing what wonderful riches they have in the Holy Eucharist. They rarely attend Mass or if they do they do not receive Holy Communion. What wasted opportunities! “If only you know the gift of God,” Jesus told the woman at the well, (John 4:10).

In the gospel today Jesus promises the Eucharist, “the source and summit of Christian life.” He insists on its necessity, “Unless you eat…”Just as we need food to stay alive and healthy, so we need spiritual food. At Communion, we receive not only the grace of God, but God Himself, the giver of all grace. He promises life eternal and union with Him and with our fellowmen.

St. Paul encountered Christ on the road to Damascus which changed him forever. From a persecutor, he was transformed into the most zealous and courageous apostle. We encounter the same Christ at every Eucharistic celebration. May this encounter be so deep that it changes us it did St. Paul.

The poor woman didn’t realize what she was missing. How about us? Do we really value the Mass, Holy Communion and visits to the Blessed Sacrament as opportunities to encounter Christ, deepen our union with Him and our brothers and sisters and to gain eternal life? (Fr. James Risse, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


It is surprising to know that more than half of human beings use only 60% of their energy during their lifetime. Yes, scientific researches have proven that obesity and other weigh-related problems are results of not using hidden energies. Energy is power! However, unnecessary use of energy may result to sickness. Thus, we have to know what energy we need in order to perform well and maximize our existence physically and spiritually.

Today’s gospel reminds of the hidden energy that God shared with us. As Catholics, we must feel fortunate and privileged to take part in the holy banquet where Christ shares with us the hidden power in the bread and wine. It’s time to throw away our doubts; remember miracles do happen to those who believe.

One time when I was preaching on this particular gospel, I felt so delighted by the attentiveness of the faithful. So much so that during communion a man came twice! In order not to embarrass him, I gave him another piece of Christ’s body. After the celebration, i called the man and asked him why he queued twice. He said: “Because at first, you only gave me a half. That is why I queued again to complete the whole.”

Feeling abandoned and incomplete? Maybe, you need more spiritual energy from the Eucharist. Remember, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” (Fr. Isagani Ehido, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


Recently, I had a conversation with a 5-year-old kid who curiously asked me how true that the host given during the Holy Mass is indeed Jesus Christ. I told him that in the Holy Eucharist, the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. He thought for a while and smiled playfully at me. “So,” he exclaimed, “you have given my mother two Jesus Christs during Holy Communion!” “Why two Christs?” I asked. “because you gave her two hosts,” the child answered.

In the gospel today, some Jews were fuming mad at Jesus for telling the crowd that His flesh is true food while His blood is true drink. They were deeply offended because they took his words literally. Indeed it is a very morbid scenario to eat real, physical flesh.  Added to that is the fact that prior to this discourse, Jesus was talking about eating bread. Suddenly, he shifted to eating flesh!

Real Presence is the term used to express this belief that Jesus Christ is really present in what was previously bread and wine but really are the Body and Blood of Christ.

When Jesus talked about His flesh and blood giving eternal life, he invited us to take His life into the center of our being that which he offers is the very life of God Himself. That manna in the wilderness reminded the people of Israel that they live, not by earthly bread alone, but by the bread of the Word of God (Deut 8:3). Unless we find in him our complete nourishment, then we are lifeless. Blessed is the person who finds his sustenance in Christ. That person is full of life. It is not even a life that this person has to wait for. It is already a life in the here and now – a resurrected life (Fr. Fiel Felmar SVD Bible Diary 2013)


April 15, 2016 Friday

Great was the confusion and sadness that followed when our extended family received the news that Dionisio and Victor, two of the best and the brightest in the clan, had left the Church to join one, a born-again group, the other an evangelical church. They claimed that they could not believe, much less accept wholeheartedly, the Catholic teachings, especially the mass. In their new faith communities they say they have found warmth and companionship, joy in the lively singing and meaning in the personal, spontaneous prayers of their ministers and elders.

Jesus spoke about the Eucharist, he being the bread come from heaven, the bread of life. He also said that unless one ate the bread he gave and drank his blood, that person would not have life everlasting in him. So difficult were Jesus’ words for his listeners to accept that many left and no longer walked with him. Saddened, the Lord asked those disciples who remained, “Will you also go away?”

Many former Catholics find joy and warmth in their newly found faith-communities. But, not a few confess that, especially during Christmas and Holy Week, they miss the beauty and the depth of meaning Catholic liturgies offer. Remembering the bread of life that they share and the cup of salvation they drink from, they feel a unique kind of homesickness, realizing that eating crackers instead of the sacred host and drinking grape juice are not the same.

Today, our family prays earnestly and hopes fervently that one day Dionisio and Victor will realize the Lord’s truth when he said, “Unless you eat the esh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you….He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him.” (Fr. Flor Lagura, SVD U.S.A. Bible Diary 2016)


The Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 1391-1397) tells us the benefits or fruits of receiving the Eucharist:

  1. It gives us a closer union with Christ
  2. It deepens the grace we are given at Baptism
  3. It cleanses us from past sins and restricts us from future sins
  4. It strengthens unity among members of the Church, and
  5. It renews our care for the poor


My Reflection for Friday May 9, Third Week of Easter; John 6:52-59 – Reflection: What is the difference between a person who is a daily Communicant and the person who doesn’t submit to Holy Communion? The person who devoutly goes to Holy Mass and who lets himself be nourished by the Body of Christ. Is slowly but surely being transformed by the Body of Christ to become Christ like.

What does this mean to us? It means that the very moment we allow the Body of Christ  to come into us. We also open ourselves the opportunity to be an alter ego of Jesus. In other words it simply means that we become the ambassadors of Jesus when we receive Him.

But do we really allow this to happen to us? Do we really allow the Body of Christ to spiritually nourish and transform us? Many of us go to Holy Communion regularly but we never change. There’s no positive behavioral and spiritual transformation that occurs within us. This is for the reason that we don’t allow the Body of Christ to transform us.

One sure sign that the Body of Jesus Christ is transforming us already is when we are able to share and live His teachings. We are able to overcome our own sinfulness and our own arrogance and pride.

Have we already shared and lived Jesus? Have we already overpowered our own sinfulness, arrogance and pride? (Marino J. Dasmarinas)


Reflection for April 24, Friday of the Third Week of Easter; John 6:52-59 Reflection: Are you a regular Sunday Mass goer or even a daily Mass goer? How do you feel if you fail to be at Holy Mass? Do you feel that something is lacking in your system of being? You have this feeling not because you miss a routinary activity.

On the contrary you have this feeling because you miss to be with Jesus. And you miss to partake of the Body and Blood of Jesus which (you may not know) is the source of your every Sunday or daily nourishment.

How many times have you been at Holy Mass without paying attention to what’s going on during the celebration? Perhaps countless times already, what do you do after noticing that your attention was not in the Mass? Do you say sorry to Jesus and then make it a point to be attentive the next time?

In every Holy Mass that you attend you should see to it that your full attention is in the celebration. So that when the part comes that you are about to partake of His body your focus is centered on what you are about to receive. Which is no other than the most precious bread in the entire world because you receive the life giver, Jesus Himself.

Perhaps you may not believe this now because you are still young, healthy and perhaps you have money and power. And these temporal things serve as your security blanket right now. However when the time comes that you are already old and sickly. You will know that nothing matters anymore except the Bread of life, Jesus Himself. You will not desire anything except to partake of His Body which will become the source of your daily nourishment.

Why wait for that time to come in the future? When you can already desire to be close with Jesus by faithfully partaking of His Body and Blood now and onwards?  Why make the temporal things of this world your security blanket? When you can make the Body of Christ your security blanket now? Yes now! – Marino J. Dasmarinas


MY FLESH AND MY BLOOD: “My flesh is really food and my blood is drink.” – John 6:55

Eighth century AD in Lanciano, Italy. A Basilian monk doubted the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. As he celebrated the Holy Mass one day, the host changed into live flesh and the wine into live blood after consecration. The specimen, proven to be part of a human heart, had a blood type that matched the one found in the Holy Shroud in Turin.

Thirteenth century in Santarem, Portugal. A woman attempted to bring a consecrated host to a sorcerer in exchange for a spell to make her unfaithful husband love her again. As she was on her way to bring the host, it started bleeding. Out of fear, she wrapped it with her scarf and hid it inside a wooden chest. In the evening, the couple was awakened by a brilliant ray of light shining through the chest, with a spectacular vision of angels adoring the bleeding Holy Host.

In 2012, I was blessed to touch the relics of both Eucharistic miracles. The experience transformed my simple appreciation of Holy Communion into a deeper and more personal relationship with God. Each time He enters my body through the Eucharist, He also enters my heart. Marie Franco (

Reflection: People go to Mass yet do not receive Holy Communion. How can they deprive themselves of this miracle?

I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, Lord, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.


1ST READING: Saul encounters Jesus on his way to Damascus to persecute and even kill Christians. How ironic that he is to become the great advocate for Christianity and take the Gospel to the Gentiles. I wonder what our experience of encountering Jesus was like? Are we jealous of the ways in which the saints have come to know Jesus with such certainty? God knows what He is doing. Perhaps our lack of a powerful encounter with Jesus is because we do not seek Him as diligently as we can. Acts 9:1-20

GOSPEL: Jesus understands well His mission. He indicates that He is going to shed His blood for us and that through this we will be able to reconcile with God. We will be given a second chance at life. The Church’s sacramental understanding of John 6 is that the Eucharist becomes for us a participation and sharing in the death of Christ and its effect in our lives. Let us pray for a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Eucharist. John 6:52-59

think: The Eucharist becomes for us a participation and sharing in the death of Christ and its effect in our lives.


EATING THE FLESH OF CHRIST: I always find it a bit difficult to understand why it is only the Catholic Church and those in full union with Her that take this text literally. For all the talk about the inerrant Word of God that emanates from the writings of Protestant theologians, there is an embarrassing silence when it comes to understanding this Eucharistic imagery in John 6. Jesus seems to be very serious about the imagery as He repeats it a number of times. This ought to make us seriously consider that what He is saying is a sacramental and not simply a sign. The union to which God is calling us is deeper than that of a mere sign — it is a personal invitation to enter into a personal relationship and everything else that it involves.

As Catholics, it is good for us to take this moment to reflect on our understanding of the Eucharist, in fact all of the sacraments, and the way they invite us to enter into a deeper relationship with Christ. The gift of the sacraments to the Church is one that has been highly undervalued in the last few decades. It is time for us to rediscover the wonder and gift they are to us, and so draw from the abundance of graces they make available to us. Sure, they are not the only avenues through which we can avail of God’s grace, but they are important ones. Let us never take them for granted, or they will become like muscles that have atrophied for lack of use.

It is not just up to the priests of the Church to instill enthusiasm in us. We all have to take responsibility for developing and deepening our understanding of the faith. This is a part of developing our gratitude to God for all that He has done for us. Gratitude is a great motivator in recognizing the nature of the blessing that comes with the gifts God bestows on us. Let us never forget what we owe God for His generous love for us. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: How do you value the sacraments of the Church? Do you avail of their graces as often as possible?

Holy Spirit, help me to open my heart to the avenues of grace that You offer me. I do not want to miss anything that You have for me.


STAY CONNECTED – “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” – John 6:56

The nature of my work and ministry in our community requires me to be online all the time. This is why I “love” my mobile phone. Aside from calls and texts, it allows me to organize my schedule, present our company’s mobile applications, check my e-mails, keep in touch with my contacts, and be updated with current events. I also use my phone as a GPS device, Bible, voice recorder for interviews, camera and a lot more. The mobile phone is one powerful device that I need.

One day, I had a business trip abroad. I realized that my phone had no roaming partner. So I didn’t have any signal! This meant that I couldn’t use any feature of the phone that required online connection. That meant no calls, texts, email, online calendar, social network, GPS, etc. My once powerful phone was reduced to a simple camera.

It’s the same scenario with our Christian life. We need to stay connected to Jesus so we can accomplish the mission that He has given us. One way of remaining with Him is to take His Body and Blood as often as possible.

Truly, without Jesus, we are ordinary. But with Jesus, we are extraordinary! Alvin Fabella (

Reflection: “If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.” (St. Maximilian Kolbe)

Lord, I thank You for Your Body and Blood. By its grace I am able to overcome what is impossible for my strength alone. Amen.


FOOD FOR THE SOUL – “For My flesh is true food, and My Blood is true drink.” – John 6:55

There was a monk among the Desert Fathers in Egypt who had doubts about the real presence of Jesus in the consecrated bread and wine. Two of his fellow monks prayed that his faith be strengthened. One day, they went to Mass together. According to the recorded account the monks left behind, a child appeared as the bread was placed on the altar. When the priest was about to break the bread, they saw an angel descend with a sword and poured the child’s blood into the chalice. And when the priest cut the bread into smaller pieces, the angel also cut the child into pieces.

When the monks drew near to receive Communion, the doubting monk received a morsel of bloody flesh. He became afraid and cried out, “Lord, I believe that this bread is Your flesh and this chalice is Your blood.” Immediately, the flesh became bread. He received it, giving thanks to God.

The monks said, “God knows human nature and that man cannot eat raw flesh, and that is why He has changed His Body into bread and His Blood into wine for those who receive it in faith.” Marjorie Ann Duterte (

Reflection: “Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood has eternal life…” (John 6:54)

Dear Jesus, I believe. Heal my unbelief! You are truly present in the Holy Eucharist. May I receive Your Body and Blood with respect, faith and love. Amen.



In today’s Gospel, we find ourselves at the heart of the Eucharistic mystery. Jesus unequivocally tells the Jews that they must “eat His Body and drink His Blood,” or they will not have any life with Him. These are extraordinary words and it is impossible to get around them. (Incidentally, here is one part of the Scriptures that the Catholic Church takes literally but which all the Pentecostal groups do not.)

How the bread and wine became the Body and Blood of Jesus is beyond the capacity of science to explain. And this is where faith enters.

Jesus is addressing the meal aspect of the Eucharist. However, at the level of faith, we are dealing with transformed substances — the Body and Blood of Jesus. They may look like bread and wine, but sacramentally they have become the Body and Blood of Jesus. It is this transformation that makes what seems absurd at least reasonable, if not understandable.

We speak of eating in reference to the actual bread and wine, but in faith we believe these are now — not necessarily physically but sacramentally — the Body and Blood of Jesus. So the action of eating is performed on the bread and wine, but spiritually speaking we have received the Body and Blood of Christ.

We need to remember that many aspects of our faith have an element of mystery attached to them and if we try to remove the mystery, we lose also the essence of our faith. Faith, by its very nature, and the many things our faith addresses, cannot be fully explained scientifically. Let us remain open-minded — open to the possibilities our faith brings with it and open to the Holy Spirit as He helps us in our faith journey. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTION: God feeds us in the Eucharist. Have you experienced being sustained in your spiritual life when receiving Holy Communion?

Jesus, thank You for the ways You make Yourself available to us in Word and in the sacraments. Help me to keep my mind and heart open to Your revelation so I may know You more. Amen.


That the Risen Jesus is truly present in the Bread and Wine is not only a problematic for the people of old. Even now, the real presence of Jesus is contrary to our senses, to our science, and to our experience. Our senses indicate that what looks like bread is really bread, and that what looks like wine is wine. Our science will say the texture, the composition, and the shape of bread and wine remain. Our experience says there is no way you see Jesus with his head, hands and feet in a tiny host.

But Jesus insists: He is present. There can be different ways of being present. Departed friends and relatives are present to us in our hearts and in our memories. Actors and actresses are present to us through the image of the silver screen. Jesus insists:  in Bread and Wine He is sacramentally present. Not symbolic, but really present through signs.

  • The presence of the Risen Jesus in the Eucharist is a necessary presence. The sign of bread is necessary in life. wine which has become blood is essential, for there can be no human life possible without blood. Jesus is both: bread and blood for us.
  • The presence of the Risen Jesus in the Eucharist transforms us into His living presence. Jesus asked Paul: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:1-20). Through the Eucharistic communion that the early Christians partook, they are now identified with Jesus, and Jesus identifies Himself with them (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP, New Every Morning New Everyday, Makati: St. Pauls, 2006: 109-110)


Thursday, April 14, 2016

FRIDAY OF THE 3RD WEEK OF EASTER (YEAR C) – JUAN 6:52-59. ANG KONSAGRADO NGA PAN UG BINO DIHA SA SANTOS NGA MISA – SIMBOLO O PRESENSYA SA DIOS? Daghan ang maghunahuna (apil ang mga Katoliko nga wala makasabot) nga ang sagrado nga Ostya “simbolo” lamang sa presensya sa Dios. Apan sayop kini nga pagtoo. Ang kamatuoran mao nga si Hesus tinuod gayod nga anaa sa Ostya ug Bino nga gikonsagrahan sulod sa Misa. Sa Katapusang Panihapon, siya miingon samtang mitunol sa pan ug bino, “Kini mao ang akong lawas… Kini mao ang akong dugo” (1 Cor 11:24-25). Wala gayod siya moingon nga kini mao ang simbolo sa akong lawas ug dugo. Diha sa ebanghelyo karon, si Kristo namulong, “Ang akong unod mao ang matuod nga kalan-on, ug ang akong dugo mao ang matuod nga ilimnon.” Kini ang misteryo sa Eukaristiya nga gihuptan sa Katolikong Simbahan. Posted by Abet Uy



Friday, April 15

Acts 9:1-20; Jn 6:52-59

Ever Renewing Source of Power

As our church is in a village, we always lacked regular supply of electricity. To solve the issue we purchased a generator for the church. But it had to be packed off soon due to the increase in the price of diesel and the recurring repairing works. Our attempt to have battery back up by installing inverters also failed as they couldn’t supply power for long hours. At last we decided to go for the solar power that helped us to solve our problem permanently. The message:  the quality of the power is depended upon the kind of source from which we draw the power.

Jesus knew that it is the Heavenly Father who sent Jesus to this world. He knew that the source of his power is his loving relationship with the Heavenly Father itself and acknowledged that he even live just because of the Father (v. 57).

During the earthly ministry Jesus could have made use of different sources of power available to him to carry out his mission. He could have used his academic brilliance as he was able to argue with the elders even at the age of twelve and people used to be amazed of his wisdom. He could have used his power to perform miracles to fulfil his mission. Added to it, one of his disciples was from the group of zealots. He could have taken their help too. But Jesus always preferred to be united with the heavenly Father. For him, to have the witness of the Father for his works was sufficient. He could withstand any opposition in his life with the confidence that heavenly Father is with him.

Today, we need enormous power in order to lead a life of love, service and forgiveness in this strife filled world. We cannot live this life by relying merely upon our own strength and the strength of our co-workers/family members. We have to tap an everlasting, ever renewing source of power. This source of power is to remain united with the Heavenly Father. We need to develop a childlike like relationship with Him. We must be able to call God ‘Abba Father’ just as Jesus addressed him. Fr. Johnson Bezalel CMI


April 15, 2016

REFLECTION: In the Book of Acts the Christian faith is seven times referred to as the Way (here in today’s first reading, as also in Acts 18:26; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22) or as the Way of the Lord. It is interesting to note that, already in the 6th century B.C., the Chinese Lao-Tze called the new religion he was teaching the Tao, which in Chinese means: path, way. Nothing is really surprising in all this because a religion, any religion, teaches a way of living more than a set of abstract notions. Consequently, if our Christianity is only made of information about God and nothing more (that is, if it does not inform our lives), it is useless.

Another striking detail in today’s first reading is the manner in which Jesus completely identifies himself with Christians: “Why do you persecute me… I am Jesus whom you persecute.” These words should not surprise us because in today’s gospel reading Jesus specifies very clearly that “those who eat my flesh and drink my blood, live in me, and I in them.” To be a Christian is to be inside Christ and it is to have Christ be inside him or her. There is no deeper intimacy.


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Friday of the 3rd Week of Easter

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