Thursday of the 3rd Week of Easter

John 6:44-51

The Bread of Life Discourse

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

A mother and father take multiple jobs to provide their children with education. Men and women risk their lives in working with indigenous peoples to retrieve their ancestral lands. Some courageous ones speak in behalf of workers earning salaries way below the minimum wage. Others open homes for abandoned children, the aged, sick and dying.

At the heart of these endeavours is the longing to share quality life, a life that tries to approximate the life our Creator planned for us when we were created in the image and likeness of God.

Such a life is a reflection of the eternal life Jesus meant when He said: “…he who believes has eternal life.” When we believe in Him, we strive to follow Him in the life he lived, a life of compassion, of forgiveness, of speaking for and standing for truth and justice even if it means rejection and death.

Is it possible for us to follow Jesus in the life He lived? Yes, for our strength and nourishment in our striving to do so is Jesus Himself, our bread of life, whom we receive in the Eucharist. (Sr. Milagros Sandoval SSpS Bible Diary 2002)

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An old lady was being wheeled into the operating room. Visibly nervous, she blurted out: “Doctor, please be gentle with me. This is my first time to be operated on.”

The youthful surgeon glanced at her and said: “Don’t worry, madam. This is also my first time to do an operation.” I don’t know if the lady survived.

Anyway, when a doctor tells you that your operation will be successful, even if it’s his first time to do it and you believe although you don’t know how he will do it, that’s faith.

Similarly in today’s gospel, Christ asks us to believe in the Eucharist, even though we don’t understand how His Body can become our life-giving food and His Blood our nourishing drink.

It is not surprising why the cynical Jews grumbled: “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” (John 6:5). Cannibalism, one might say today.

God’s word goes beyond the mystery of the Eucharist. In everyday life, we’re also asked to have faith, to accept God’s will, hard and bitter though it is to swallow or understand sometimes.

It can be the untimely death of a loved one, an incurable sickness, an undeserved suffering, say, of children from estranged or separated parents; you may complain: “”Why do I experience all these setbacks and trials? It’s unfair when I’ve been trying to be good.”

When these situations arise, can we hold on? Can we still believe that there’s a good and loving God.

Ultimately, we are asked to believe, to put our trust in Christ. Like Peter and the apostles, we say: “Lord, to whom shall we go; you have the words of eternal life.” (Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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PPP. What does it stand for? Our good friend and benefactor call it “PINK-PRAYER-POWER” and use it every time she has important or urgent intentions and prayer requests to us. The Lord usually rewards her simple and strong faith, to her great joy and ours!

Our whole life is centered in the Eucharist from which we draw our strength in fulfilling our ecclesial role through faith-filled adoration, loving contemplation and fervent intercession to Jesus Christ, our Emmanuel, “God is with us and among us.” In communion with Him and nourished with His own flesh and blood, we share also in His saving mission for the life of the world. Yes, eternal life is this – to know, to believe, to love and to be united with Christ, the Bread of Life present in the Blessed Sacrament.

What kind of bread nourishes you? Does it satisfy your every need, or do you remain hungry and thirsty, yearning for more? Are you restless, competitive, insatiable, in your needs? Where do you find your happiness? In another PPP? POWER-PRESTIGE-POPULARITY? Yes, this is the daily bread of worldlings – always seeking for more, leaning them unsatisfied, disconnected, and yearning for more comfort, convenience and leisure.

GO BACK TO CHRIST – THE BREAD OF LIFE! He alone can satisfy your longing heart for joy, love, peace and union. He is waiting for you right at this moment with open arms to enfold you in His loving Heart. Pray to Him : “Live, my Jesus, live in me, that all I do be done by You; that all I think and all I say be Your thoughts and words this day.” (SSpSAP Bible Diary 2006)

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A story is told about a student of theology who said to his professor: “I cannot believe in God any longer.” The professor surprised the student by saying: “Maybe i should congratulate you for no longer believing in God.” “What do you mean by that?” asked the student. His professor replied: “Perhaps the idea of God that you have in your mind is distorted that you should reject it.” The professor’s remark underscores an important point. Oftentimes the God whom one rejects is not the true God but merely a product of one’s imagination that exist nowhere. If we are to discover the true God, we must turn to Jesus. He said: “Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from Him comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God. (Fr. Eliseo Yyance, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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“He who believes has eternal life.” By itself, it would be hard to believe such a statement. To believe in Jesus, the Son of Mary, was after all already a problem for the Jews. The statement that follows was even harder for the Jews to take: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever…” But this is what faith is all about. To believe in something or someone even when it is hard to believe.

On top of that, Jesus also told them: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and i will raise him up at the last day.” He was putting Himself at the same level as Yahweh, the God of Abraham who was their God as well. For the Jews, it was blasphemy!

However, let us not get stuck on whether the Jews should have been more open to Jews. Or even try to put motives in their refusal to accept Jesus. Instead, let us just focus on the message of Jesus: in rejecting Him (by not believing in Him and accepting His teachings), we are rejecting the source of eternal life and therefore of eternal life itself.

Still, it is a choice; albeit one that is very crucial for the man of today who is tired, bored and stressed out. But in a world such as ours, I find Jesus’ message very refreshing: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever.” Compared to what materialism or secular society can offer us, what Jesus offers is real life.

To accept Jesus in the Word and in the Eucharist then, as prefigured in our gospel reading today, is not only life and spiritual nourishment for us mortals here on earth but immortality and glory in the world to come. As the Word of God requires faith by its very nature, the Eucharist on the other hand, demands fellowship or sharing as it is done in the context of a meal. We cannot then but conclude that the whole Christian life is nothing more than faith in action. Or as the motto engraved on the seal of the University of San Carlos puts it: Christian living is “To Witness to the World.” (Fr. Vic Uy, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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April 14, 2016 Thursday

Some years ago, at the approach of a severe typhoon in my seaside parish, fifty-seven families who lived on a spit of land, which was almost completely sand, sheltered in the parish buildings.

With the DSWD, we tried to make them comfortable. Mostly friendly and good humoured, they cooperated. Only a few complained about food, especially.

When we cleaned up the next day after the people had left, we found some DSWD utensils had disappeared. Blame was hurled on the village people but I trusted most of them and knew they didn’t steal. Most of them in fact were upset about what had happened.

In the desert, the people seem to have been in the habit of complaining to God who more than once had to give them a temporary dole-out in their particular situation. They complained even about the manna. They rebelled, in spite of the evidence that God was looking after them, as shown in the manna. Finally, the whole generation that had come out of Egypt died in the wilderness.

Now things are different: Jesus is giving to us all more than just emergency bread. He says himself, “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 for the life of the world.”

Jesus is the Bread, not contingency food given us almost on a dole-out basis, but rather our very living Bread, and he who continues to give meaning and direction to us every day of our lives. If we come to Jesus we will not die in the desert, we will live. (Fr. Alan Meechan, SVD Naujan Or. Mindoro Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/index.php/daily-reflection/581-april-14-2016-thursday

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TELL THE WORLD: “Come and hear, all you who fear God, while I recount what has been done for me.” – Psalm 66:16

As a teacher, I have learned to become more animated when I tell stories to students. I would consciously vary my voice, gestures and facial expressions to make the story more interesting. There would be parts in the story that I would tell with exaggeration.

But when I talk about what God has done in my life, whether in a small group or a large crowd, the enthusiasm comes out naturally. I don’t need to deliberately exaggerate because when God works, it’s always a big deal for me. An empty parking lot in a mall on a Sunday afternoon, a free lunch, a free trip for three to Cebu, a free upgrade to business class in one of my international trips, protection in a car accident, the good health  of my family, a career breakthrough, financial provisions — I could go on and on with my list of answered prayers. But one thing remains — God has been working in my life, always for my good, even if sometimes it seems like He’s not there.

God has done great things for me, and I am sure He does the same for you. When we tell our story, there’s no need for exaggeration or animation. Our blessing-filled life is more than awesome enough to share to the world. Lala dela Cruz (bella.delacruz@gmail.com)

Reflection: Have you ever experienced the power of God working in your life? It’s time to tell the world!

Father, thank You for a life of answered prayers. May I be a living witness to Your love and goodness.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-08

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1ST READING: The question as to how a person can learn about the faith unless someone instructs him is a very good one. It ought to awaken our hearts to reflect on our duty and responsibility in proclaiming the Gospel. What is God asking us to do in this regard? There is always something we can do to further progress the proclamation of the Kingdom of God. Acts 8:26-40

GOSPEL: Jesus is claiming to be greater than Moses. This is no small claim in the eyes of the Jews as Moses was the most important figure in their history. It is easy to see how such a claim could scandalize some of the Jews. If the connection between Jesus and His identity as the Messiah is not made or accepted, indeed His claim is both blasphemous and scandalous.John 6:44-51

think: There is always something we can do to further progress the proclamation of the Kingdom of God.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-08

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THE LIVING BREAD: Jesus says, “I am the living bread.” Think about this statement for a moment. What does it mean to you? To me, it is a proclamation of solidarity. It is the Father and Jesus telling us that they are not interested in sitting in heaven and watching us make a mess of our lives. They want to engage us and help us to discover the wonders of a personal relationship with God.

If I am right about this attitude of God, then what are we doing to enable God to work in our lives? More often, we are the ones who reject or drive away the capacity of God to work in our lives. We have the freedom to open or close our door to God’s grace. God gives us this choice so that our relationship with Him is the result of our own decision. A relationship between adults that is forced is not a real relationship — it does not reflect true love. It is love that God wants from us, not because He needs it for Himself, but because He knows that this is what is best for us.

The whole imagery of the Eucharist in this passage screams to us of God’s desire to be one with us. He has done all that He can to offer us the deepest level of relationship possible. The Scriptures reveal to us how God has been doing this since the start of His relationship with the Jewish people. They also narrate some of the ways people have responded well and otherwise. It is now up to each of us to add our stories to the list. God never gives up on us as individuals, or the human race in general. He always comes back to us and makes a new offer.

The feeding miracles of Jesus speak to us of the abundance of God’s love — there is always enough to go around, no matter how many of us respond to His offer. God’s love is infinite. This is His character and it is into this love that He invites us all. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: How do you see the feeding miracles in the ministry of Jesus? What do they mean to you? What do they teach you about the nature of God’s love for you?

Holy Spirit, open my eyes and heart to the truth of God’s love for me. Help me to see that it is a love without limits, a love that transforms, and a love that will never die.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-08

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My Reflection for Thursday May 8, Third Week of Easter; John 6:44-51 – Reflection: Why are we afraid to die? There are many reasons why we are afraid to die, foremost amongst these reasons is we are not prepared yet. We still have our own worldly preoccupation that we must take care of first. But we all know that at a time that we don’t expect, the grim reaper will eventually stalk us until it gets us.

In today’s gospel Jesus gives us an iron clad protection against our fear of death. He enjoins us to regularly partake of the living bread that is available to us during Holy Communion no other than Himself. This is the same bread that is given to those who are sick and not anymore able to go to church for Holy Mass.

Why don’t we try to regularly partake of His Body during Holy Communion? And see how it will form, change and make us fearless of mortal death. We will not die anymore if we are with Jesus and we will not fear death anymore if we reverently partake of Him during Holy Communion.

Let us therefore bring others to Holy Mass and let us also be on the lookout for those who are not anymore able to go to church for Holy Mass caused by their sickness. So that they will also be blessed, nourished and enlightened by the enormous blessing of the Body of Jesus Christ.

Have you been able to bring someone to church for Mass? Have you been an instrument for the sick who are not anymore capable to go to church, so that they too could receive the Body of Christ in their house? (Marino J. Dasmarinas)

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/05/my-reflection-for-thursday-may-8-third.html

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Reflection for April 23, Thursday of the Third Week of Easter; John 6:44-51 Reflection: How could you have eternal life?  You have to regularly receive the Body of Christ at Holy Mass. Always receive it with reverence and piety never think of it as a simple bread. Because what you receive is Jesus Himself.

Just imagine the enlightenment and unfathomable blessing that it will bring you if you would always partake of the body of Christ. Just imagine the countless spiritual blessing that it would bring you if you would believe that Jesus is the Consecrated Host that you receive during Holy Communion.

Your belief and faith in the bread of life will open your mind to the many truths about Jesus. Things that are hard to explain but is real and felt by the heart, all you have to do is to believe and have faith.

For without faith and belief you will not fully comprehend how this small bread becomes the body of Jesus after it is consecrated by the priest. How this small bread becomes your life and your reason for existing in this world.

Don’t wait for a Eucharistic miracle to happen before you believe for it may not happen in your lifetime. Believe now and have faith now in the bread of life. Which is Jesus Himself and you yourself will become a living and breathing miracle for those who know you. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2015/04/reflection-for-april-23-thursday-of.html

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Reflection for April 14, Thursday of the Third Week of Easter; John 6:44-51

Reflection: Why are we afraid to die?

There are many reasons why we are afraid to die; foremost amongst these reasons is we are not prepared yet. We still have our own worldly preoccupation that we must take care of first. But we all know that at a time that we don’t expect, the grim reaper will eventually stalk us until it gets us.

In today’s gospel Jesus gives us an iron clad protection against our fear of death. He enjoins us to regularly partake of the living bread that is available to us during Holy Communion no other than Himself. This is the same bread that is given to those who are sick and not anymore able to go to church for Holy Mass.

Why don’t we try to regularly partake of His Body during Holy Communion? And see how it will form, change and make us fearless of mortal death. We will not die anymore if we are with Jesus and we will not fear death anymore if we reverently partake of Him at Holy Mass during Holy Communion.

Let us therefore bring others to Holy Mass and let us also be on the lookout for those who are not anymore able to go to church for Holy Mass caused by their sickness. So that they will also be blessed, nourished and enlightened by the enormous blessing of the Body of Jesus Christ.

Have you been able to bring someone to church for Holy Mass so that they too could partake of the Body of Christ during Holy Communion? Have you been an instrument for the sick who are not anymore capable to go to church, so that they too could receive the Body of Christ in their house? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2016/04/reflection-for-april-14-thursday-of.html

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THE THIRD WEEK OF EASTER

Thursday, April 14

Acts 8:26-40; Jn 6:44-51

New Manna

When Israelites left Egypt, they were not having a trained army but were a group who were trained only to make bricks. Still they were successful in conquering the people whoever they faced in their journey to Canaan, and ultimately the Canaan itself. It was because they had the Arc of the Covenant with them. They had carried it to all the battlefields and they were successful. The arc of the Covenant simply held a piece of manna, the Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant. The very presence of the Arc of the Covenant that held manna gave extreme power to the Israelites.

Today Jesus offers new manna that is his body itself. In the Old Testament, both the manna and one who ate it had perished (v.49). But the new manna is the very flesh of Jesus Christ, the son of God (v.51). This bread is both living and life giving. And we call it Eucharist.

Eucharist is not the symbolic presence of Jesus. It is Jesus veiled under the appearance of breadbut really and physically present in the consecrated Host, so that he dwells in our midst. The saints had realised the power of the Eucharist in their lives. That is why St. Padre Pio told “This world may exist a day without sun, but not without Eucharist.”

If we realise the power of the Eucharist, the new manna, it can become the life juice in us just as the wine branches have, it can become the guiding force in our life just as Israelites had cloud of fire, it can become life saving power just as Prophet Elijah had the bread in the desert (I Kg19:4-8).

Let’s love the Eucharist and experience it so that it becomes the source and summit of our Christian life (Sacrosanctum Concilium,the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy by Vat II). Fr. Johnson Bezalel CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2016-04-14

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April 14, 2016

REFLECTION: Most Christians, when they hear the expression “eternal life,” spontaneously think of a life which will last forever, since the dictionary definition of eternal is “lasting forever” (Collins). But in John’s gospel the expression “eternal life” refers less to duration (no limit in time) as to quality (somehow pertaining to God’s nature). Here a footnote of the New Jerusalem Bible explains the word “eternal” thus: “a word which denotes a quality properly divine which puts this life beyond what is corporeal, beyond time and beyond measure… it is promised to believers (cf. 2 Cor 4:18), but already given to them… It will be completed by the resurrection” (footnote j on Jn 3:15).

In other words, even in this life the true believers in Christ live a life of intimacy with Christ which is quite unique and which is a source of deep peace, contentment—and even joy. And this intimacy only deepens with time. So much so that, when death comes, the true believers are not surprised to find themselves in the arms of God, because they always knew in the depth of their hearts that faith had already placed them there…

CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.

8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel.: (02) 921-3984, 922-9806 • Fax: (02) 921-6205

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3503-april-14-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Thursday of the 3rd Week of Easter

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