Saturday of the 3rd Week of Easter

John 6:60-69

The Words of Eternal Life


Have we ever had an experience that we said: “It is good to be true?”

In the discourse of the Bread of Life, what Jesus has said and offered could have sounded incredible. He was offering Himself totally, Himself as word and as food and drink, giving eternal life. He only asked for faith, that we believe His words and come to Him.

Many of His disciples found Jesus’ offer “too much.” Shall we say “too good to be true?” they refused, they left. With sadness, we read: “…many of His disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Him.”

The master stands by His words; His words are true, His invitation holds. He confronts the other disciples(and us): “Do you also want to leave?”

We answer with St. Peter “Lord 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.”

We are before the mystery of divine choice and human freedom. “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”

As children we had a game of trying to surpass one another: “I want one million pesos.” Another would say: “I am the president’s son.” Now, I would answer: “I have the Lord Jesus, I have everything.” (Fr. Willy Villegas, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


Believe and alive!

In my 23 years with the Society of Divine Word (SVD) I haven’t stayed just in one place. I was always on the move, changing places and assignments, relating with different people, communities, cultures, learning different languages and the like. Personally I also went through a constant process of change. In every single step there was a need for discernment and decision making. Does it make any sense at all? Yes it does. The language of faith is hard to understand but it is the only way of life. With so many experiences in my religious life, it is this faith that sustains me, faith in God’s presence and love.

Faith is what characterizes every Christian and it is always put to the test by the values and concern of today’s world. We have to make a decision on what we believe and live by it. Turning our attention to the gospel today, Jesus sets a deadline. The time has arrived for the disciples to make a decision; a decision that was commanded by their faith, a faith that guided their lives later on. Going back to ourselves,, what is our stand? What do we believe? And how can we live it? (Fr. Marcelo Cattaneo, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


In one TV program, ace comedian Dolphy was asked what the navel was for; why was a tiny depression placed by the Creator in that particular part of the body. Dolphy replied, “It’s where one puts salt when eating balut while lying down!” Simple and practical!

In another TV documentary, doctors in England were shown using maggots to treat sores on diabetes patients.

Who would have thought that navels and maggots would have such useful purposes in life? But I believe that this is the scheme of everything in creation; each has a purpose in relation to other beings. And we humans are part of this scheme. We must diligently seek our purpose in life otherwise, living without purpose is mere existing. To exist without a purpose is to be without meaning. Purpose and meaning provide us with the strength to keep on keeping on with life. They fuel our enthusiasm and will to move on.

But purpose and meaning in humans are not found in themselves; they lie beyond themselves. Living for oneself alone is an extremely boring and lifeless existence. Sadly, some people turn to drugs and self-destructive activities to alleviate the boredom and lack of purpose in their lives.

In contrast, saints and heroes have discovered that living their lives for others is the key to a happy and productive life. Even sickness and death gain meaning when accepted for the sake of others.

The words of Jesus open our eyes to the reason why we are here. His words point us to the right direction; they provide the driving force and the inspiration to keep on going, in spite of difficulties, trials, sickness, failures, and even death. His words are indeed ‘spirit and life.’ (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


April 16, 2016 Saturday

The chaplain finally said, “No more new groups!” Filipino religiosity is a fact here in Rome. However, it also reveals a malady that weakens these otherwise lively, spiritual people. We tend to disintegrate into splinter communities because of misunderstandings and diverse grudges or animosities towards each other. This illness progressed into a “plague” when 10 or more groups began to pop up like crazy and each with a horror story to tell and axes to grind. When the Lord spoke of his body and blood as true food and true drink to be eaten and drunk, the followers began to distance from Him.

The parables, the miracles, and the friendship were ne but the Eucharistic teaching, the suffering, the crucifixion, the paschal mystery – were unacceptable. The offering of Spirit and Life – the very divine spirit life of God – was rejected because it demanded conversion, obedience and trust in the Son of God who, by his words, began to challenge their well-kept comforts of mind, body and spirit.

Thus, after spending time together, many stopped on their tracks and returned home, to their own selves, to the lives they had prior to the disturbance caused by the man of Nazareth. Except for Peter and the rest, where the friendship deepened and so was their faith in the Lord. The companionship no longer revolved around food, drink and sweet talk, but around the Lord and His Word, the mystery of His Eucharist and the encounter with fellow believers in Community, as the center of discipleship. “What kept you in the community after all these years?” I asked one community member of many, many years. She narrated her struggles and pains in and outside the community but concluded, “Nandito po ang Panginoon!” Call it cliché, corny or cheesy but didn’t Peter say of it as well? I think the question should have been, “Who kept you in the community after all these years?” (Fr. Ferdinand Bajao, SVD Rome, Italy Bible Diary 2016)


Saturday, April 16, 2016

SATURDAY OF THE 3RD WEEK OF EASTER (YEAR C) – JUAN 6:60-69. UNSA MAN ANG LAWOM NGA PAGTOO KANG KRISTO? Daghan ang nisunod kang Kristo tungod kay nitoo sila sa iyang mga pulong ug milagro. Apan sa dihang gihagit niya sila sa mas lawom nga pagtoo, nga nag-apil sa pagkaon sa iyang lawas, nibiya sila kaniya. Kitang mga Katoliko miila sa presensya ni Hesus diha sa pan ug bino nga gikonsagra sa Santos nga Misa. Mitoo kita sa Iyang giingon, “Ang mokaon sa akong unod ug moinum sa akong dugo magpuyo dinhi kanako ug ako diha kaniya.” Sama kang Pedro, mitoo kita kang Kristo bisan dili matugkad sa hunahuna ang tanan niyang gitudlo tungod kay siya man ang Anak sa Dios. Sakto si A.W. Tozer sa iyang pag-ingon: “True faith rests upon the character of God and asks no further proof than the moral perfections of the One who cannot lie. It is enough that God has said it.” Posted by Abet Uy


DISCIPLESHIP IS NOT EASY – The Gospel tells us that this teaching of Jesus is not easy. Such is the nature of discipleship. There will always be challenges before us if we choose to follow Jesus. Karl Rahner, a noted Jesuit theologian of the 20th century, once wrote that he believed that it is harder in our day to live the Christian Gospel than it has ever been. This means that any Christian teaching, and discipleship in particular, will also be more difficult.

Are we up to the task? This is a question we have to ask ourselves. I sometimes wonder whether we do ourselves a disservice because we do not focus on the right aspect of the Christian life. Jesus has assured us that He will provide us with the grace we need if we follow Him. This means that the key question is if we are willing to surrender to the grace of the Holy Spirit who will provide us with all that we need to accomplish the task before us. This is a question of obedience and discipleship, not of personal capacity.

Many of Jesus’ disciples choose to leave Him after this teaching. The way to approach the next challenge is to face the problem head-on and not run away. It is to surrender our lives more fully to the grace of the Holy Spirit, and not decide that we do not have the strength to endure the struggle. We do not become disciples of Jesus based on our own strength. It is only by the grace of God that we can respond positively to our calling, let alone live it out faithfully. Let us leave it up to God and be obedient to wherever He leads us. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Have you ever been tempted to give up on God in your life? What made you not give up? What has this taught you about the grace of God?

Holy Spirit, come into my life in a deeper way every day so that I may experience the power of Your grace at work, making me a true disciple of Jesus. Amen.



Saturday, April 16

Acts 9:31-42; Jn 6:60-69

Burn your Boats

“Lord, to whom can we go?” (Jn 6:68)

Jesus asked the crowd who followed him to eat his flesh and drink his blood. For people this teaching was a difficult one as they took it literally. Many of them preferred to stop following Jesus. Jesus also wanted to know the mind of disciples and Peter answered saying, “Lord, to whom we can go?” (Jn 6:68). These words were not of the one who is desperate but of total commitment.

God always want them as His disciples who dare to burn their boats behind them in following him. He wants them to leave no room for turning back.

When Prophet Elisha was called, he killed the oxen that he was using to till his field and using the wooden plough he made fire and cooked the animal (I Kg 19:21). When the Levi was called, he left the toll booth and went after Jesus (Lk 5:27, 28). He didn’t even to dispose the money that he had on his table. When the first disciples Simon and Andrews were called they left the boat and net then and there (Mk 1:16, 17).

Total commitment necessitates that we burn our boats behind us. Francis, a young man became a true disciple (and saint) only when he removed the dress he was wearing and returned it to his father. It was the moment of ‘burning his boat.’ Mother Theresa burned her boat when she left the Loretto Convent. Inordinate attachment to our friends, anxiety to earn more wealth,  pride of having good profession, etc. could be some of the ‘boats’ that we keep in our lives so that we can find a way out once we get bored with following Jesus. Let’s examine whether I have the cent- percent commitment to Jesus that comes only after burning our boats behind us. Fr. Johnson Bezalel CMI


April 16, 2016


In the previous gospel readings of the past week we heard strange declarations made by Jesus such as this one: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh… My blood is true drink… whoever drinks my blood remains in me” (Jn 6:51, 55, 56). Upon hearing these words, as we see in today’s gospel reading, many of his followers recoiled in horror. They thought that Jesus was advocating some kind of cannibalism. And they began leaving him by droves. Now at this point Jesus had a choice: he could have backed out of his declaration by shouting to them: “Hey, come back! I was only speaking figuratively. The eucharistic bread and wine are only symbols, a commemoration, not really my flesh and blood”—what most of our protestant brethren believe. But Jesus, at the risk of losing all credibility and all his disciples, does not retract a single word he said. He is dead serious about the utter reality of his presence in the consecrated bread and wine. He risks everything on this central mystery of our faith. Let us not water it down either. The Eucharist is Jesus physically real. Period.


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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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