Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Easter

John 6:35-40

The Bread of Life Discourse

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

Another meaning of “bread of life” is the word of God/Christ.

We are familiar with the answer Jesus gave to the tempter in the desert to change stones into loaves of bread: ‘One does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”

Today’s section on the Bread of Life emphasizes the necessity of faith as one’s response or acceptance of Jesus in general, belief in His words in particular. In getting to know somebody, we usually pay attention to two things as revealing of the person: the words and the deeds/actions. In the Synoptic gospel the presentation of Jesus is usually through discourses (i.e. words) and narratives (i.e. deeds). In the Old Testament, wisdom is personified as a woman preparing delicious food and inviting passersby to partake of her banquet.

Jesus is the fulfilment of this long tradition of wisdom. He is the Word made flesh.

In many religious communities a portion of scripture is read at the start of every meal as a reminder of the bread of life. The point of the symbolism of Jesus’ words as bread of life is its salvific character: His words give life.

A missionary working in Angola told this story. The country has suffered civil war. Famine is everywhere. In one of his visits to the villages he wanted to skip one village because he had run out of food to share with the congregation. When this intention of his was known, the village chief scolded him: “Father, do not deprive my people of the true bread, the Word of God.” (Fr. Willy Villegas, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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Today’s gospel is part of Jesus’ discourse on the “Bread of Life.” Here he presents faith as the greatest requirement demanded of those who want to follow Him.

He continues to deepen the quality of faith of those who follow Him which is adherence to His person as one sent by the Father and as the inexhaustible fountain of life. “he who comes to me will never hunger, he who believes in me will never thirst.”

Faith that is anchored on the person of Jesus is capable of giving a new meaning to our lives. (Fr. E. Yyance, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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After the feeding of the multitudes, people were again looking for Jesus. Were they hungry for things which satisfy the body, or the heart and soul? From a practical angle, the people were looking for Jesus not because they believed in His words. The people were looking for Jesus not because they loved Him. They were looking for Him in order to use Him. I am afraid that on certain occasions especially during election time we can be likened to the people in Jesus’ time. Because of bodily needs, some of us allow our votes to be bought in exchange for what is temporal. The values of Jesus which satisfy the soul – honesty, integrity and the truth are easily neutralized.

Jesus echoes the question posed by the prophet Isaiah: “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy,” (55:2). I believe there are two kinds of hunger: spiritual and physical. Only God can satisfy the spiritual hunger – the hunger for truth, for life and for love. Jesus says: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger…”

The big problem that Jesus had with the crowds looking for Him was that while Jesus spoke of a spiritual reality they misunderstood Him to be speaking of material things. Materialistic minds cannot comprehend spiritual truths.

The challenge for us today is to recognize that materialism creates a false hunger, promises satisfaction but leaves us hunger. We hear the word of God but we understand it in terms of satisfying our selfish desires for wealth and power. The cure is to follow the example of Jesus and flee worldly allurements and promises of materialism. Then we can pray with St. Augustine: “O Lord, You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless ‘til they rest in You.” (Fr. Sammy Clarin, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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The importance of food has never been more pronounced in recent times than around this time last year when the Philippines and the rest of the world for that matter, experienced a food crisis. One thing good about it, if we are to be positive about it, is that it made us realize how important food is to life, not taking it for granted or indulge in it in a way that is extravagant or wasteful.

Life is precious and we will do anything just to keep it. When God created us and gave us life, he wanted us to keep it as well. In fact, he wants us to keep it not only for a certain length of time but longer, nay, forever! God knows that no amount of food will keep us alive forever. And because the food that we eat does not and cannot give us that kind of life which is eternal life but because He wants us to live also have that, he has made available to us the food that can do it. He calls it the Bread of Life. What is this Bread of Life that can give us eternal life? Or better still, who is this bread of life?

Our gospel reading today, gives us the answer: JESUS. During His Last Supper discourse, Jesus told His disciples, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Here is the “food” that we need to keep ourselves alive beyond death! What makes it so especial is that it is both food and life at the same time. The ordinary food that we eat is dead. We kill it first then cook it before we eat it. But in Jesus, the food that we eat, in the form of bread is alive. It is life itself it is divine life! No wonder Jesus is assuring us that “he who eats His flesh and drinks His blood” will not die but will live forever!

Jesus is referring to the Holy Eucharist where we get to eat His flesh and drink His blood. Let us be reminded too that eating his flesh and drinking His blood goes beyond attending Mass and receiving Holy Communion. It means also having a personal relationship with Christ which is manifested primarily through a life of prayer and contemplation and secondly, through a life of service based on respect for human life and human dignity. If we have this relationship, we can be sure that we are on the right track in our journey through time to eternity, which is our final destination, our final bliss. (Fr. Vic Uy, SVD Bible Diary 2009)

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April 13, 2016 Wednesday

It was in 2006-2007 when our batch (Yapak Class) had our Novitiate year. In one of our major retreats, a classmate shared to us his beautiful reflection. As he was going down the stairs, he was disturbed by an old crucifix hanging on the wall. He stopped and spent some moments just staring at the crucifix. He noticed that some parts of Jesus’ body were destroyed such as his eyes, ears, mouth, hands and feet. He pitied Jesus hanging on the cross with incomplete body parts.

Jesus in the gospel presents himself as food and drink for eternal life. So that when we receive him in the Holy Communion, He becomes part of us and we become part of him. And so we become Jesus’ eyes and mouth. We need to open our eyes and mouth to proclaim the values of the Kingdom.  Through Holy Communion we become also Jesus’ ears, hands and feet. The message of Jesus we hear is not to be kept for ourselves but must be shared to others. As Jesus’ hands, we are expected to lend our hands to those in need of our help. Jesus did not just sit down but he moved/walked.

We are supposed to “walk the talk.” Whatever we “talk/preach/teach” must be concretized or seen through our actions. Let us always be conscious that Jesus is living in us and that we are living in Jesus. Whenever I receive Jesus in Holy Communion, I always utter this short prayer, “Lord, thank you for allowing me to receive you. Thank you for allowing yourself to be received by me.”

Going back to my classmate’s experience of the crucifix, Jesus’ parts of the body are literally gone because he has already given to us. It is us who will continue his mission by living as his mouth, eyes, ears, hands and feet for others. (Fr. Reniel Lumiwan Nachimma, SVD Missionary to Timor Leyte Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/index.php/daily-reflection/580-april-13-2016-wednesday

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PEDESTAL: “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “Those who come to me will never be hungry; those who believe in me will never be thirsty.” – John 6:35

In the distant past, I had two failed romantic relationships. Or learning experiences, as some optimists would call them. They came one after the other. So the third time around, after taking five long years to heal, I began to analyze my patterns and reflect on my actions. “Where have I gone wrong, Lord?” I’d ask during my prayer time.

He showed me how I had made my world revolve around those men while I rationalized my actions as merely showing my love and doing everything I could to make my current long-distance relationship work. He showed me how I had put him on a pedestal and how I expected him to meet all my emotional needs. The man God prepared for me is still human, somebody fallible who will disappoint me once in a while.

“You see, my precious child, only I can give that to You. Only I can fill the void in your fragile heart,” was His answer to my cries and pleas. Solo Dios basta.God alone suffices. And so I find myself OK and happy once again, whether I have a man in my life or not. Ems Sy Chan (havenofleeanne@yahoo.com)

Reflection: When you feel a void in your heart, who do you turn to? Ask God to fill that void because He alone is enough.

Father, I am heartily sorry for the times I didn’t make You number one in my heart. Help me change my ways, O God.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-07

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1ST READING: Persecution was part of the way of life of the Early Church. This shows how robust the Gospel truths are because they were able to endure such persecution. In fact, persecution makes the faith stronger. In times of persecution, you find out who your real friends are — those who are committed to a common cause, no matter what the consequences of such a commitment may be. Acts 8:1-8

GOSPEL: Jesus’ love for us is not selective — He loves all people and redeems them. The Jews had an exclusivist understanding of the blessings of God. Only rarely were non-Jews considered to be blessed by God. The Christian Gospel does not make distinctions like this. We believe that the Good News of salvation is for everyone and that it is our duty to share it with them. Let us do everything in our power to proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth. John 6:35-40

think: Let us do everything in our power to proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-07

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FREEDOM IS FOUND IN OBEDIENCE: Pope Francis is very clear on this matter. True freedom is experienced in obedience to God’s will for our lives — obedience in living our lives according to the beauty and dignity of the human person we had been created to be. Most people, and probably a majority of Christians, will contradict what I have just written. How can it be freedom if it is obedience — doing what someone else tells you to do? This sentiment is derived from an incorrect understanding of freedom. Freedom is not the license to do whatever we want to do; true freedom is the opportunity we have been given to live according to the people we have been created to be by God.

Any act that does not reflect the dignity of the human person, as created in the image and likeness of God, is not a truly free act. It is an act of slavery, an act governed by the power of sin at work in the world and in the individual’s life.

What does it mean to be free? There are many answers to this question, but the correct answer should be rooted in the Scriptural understanding of the human person being created in the image and likeness of God. What is at stake in the various definitions of freedom is really the more fundamental understanding of the human person tied to the understanding of freedom.

More often than not, the world’s understanding of freedom is tied to an incoherent understanding of the human person who wants to attribute rights to only a limited number of people and not everyone. This is where the Church stands out as one of the very few, and maybe the only group, arguing that whatever dignity and rights we attribute to one class of people has to be attributed to all. Hence the Church’s stance against euthanasia and abortion and its teachings on sexual and social justice matters. There are times when the Church is not the best example of its own teachings, but at least it has a coherent position. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: How do you understand the dignity of the human person? Are you willing to attribute the rights you want for yourself to other persons as well?

Holy Spirit, help me to see and wonder at the beauty and dignity of the human person created in the image and likeness of God. I want to be able to see You in all people.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-07

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YES, WAIT AND NO – “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I shall raise Him on the last day.” – John 6:40

“Daddy, can I have money to buy red high-heeled shoes?” a child asked the father. He replied, “Sure, sweetie, here’s the money. Go and buy the best pair for yourself!” Another child had the same request but the dad replied, “Oh no, sweetheart, we’ll buy you a pair some other time.” A third child approached the father with the same request. The father lashed out, “N-E-V-E-R!”

Before you judge, let’s get a better understanding of the situation. The first child who asked was a daughter who was to celebrate her debut in two weeks’ time. The red high-heeled shoes was for her party. Next was his 12-year-old daughter who asked him for the same thing, so she was told to wait. The third child was his 15-year-old son. Now you understand why the daddy would never give in.

Our Heavenly Father answers us in the same way: “Yes” when our heart is right and the time is right. “Wait” when our heart is right and the time is not right. “No” when our heart is not right and the time is not right.

Only in the perspective of Jesus’ love can we understand more and follow His will. Obet Cabrillas (kpreacherobet@gmail.com)

Reflection: Are you grateful when God says yes, trusting when God says wait, and graceful when God says no?

Everything makes sense in the perspective of Jesus’ mercy and grace. May You be our “Looking Glass,” O Lord.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-04-13

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WEDNESDAY OF THE 3RD WEEK OF EASTER (YEAR B) – JUAN 6:35-40. NGANONG GITAWAG MAN NI HESUS ANG IYANG KAUGALINGON NGA “PAGKAON SA KINABUHI”? Ang pagkaon importante sa kinabuhi sa tawo tungod kay maghatag man kini kanato’g nutrisyon, kusog ug kabaskog. Kon wala ang pagkaon, ang tawo dili mabuhi. Apan unsa man ang kinabuhi? Sa pagtulon-an ni Kristo, ang kinabuhi dili lamang lawasnon o kalibotanon. Ang tinuod nga kinabuhi mao ang kinabuhi nga nahilambigit sa Dios, nga maoy tuboran ug tag-iya sa tanang kinabuhi. Ang tawo nga puno sa kinabuhi mao siya nga adunay maayong relasyon uban sa Dios. Kini maoy atong makab-ot kon kita modawat ug mosunod kang Kristo, ang Pagkaon sa Kinabuhi. Nindot ang caption nga nag-ingon: “A doctor can save your life. A lawyer can defend your life. A soldier can give you a peaceful life. But only Jesus can grant you an everlasting life.”Posted by Abet Uy

(English) John 6: 35-40. WHY IS MAN JESUS HIMSELF THE “FOOD FOR LIFE”? The food is vital for human life because they provide us with nutrition, strength and vigor. Without food, man can not live. But what is life? The teaching of Christ, life is not just physical or worldly. The real life is the life that involved God, which is the source and owner of all life. The man who is full of life he had a good relationship with God. It is within our reach if we accept and follow Christ, the Bread of Life. It caption saying: “A doctor can save your life. A lawyer can defend your life. A soldier can give you a peaceful life. But only he can grant you everlasting life. “Posted by Abet Uy

http://www.abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/04/wednesday-of-3rd-week-of-easter-year-b.html

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Reflection for April 13, Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter; John 6:35-40

Reflection: What benefit would we be entitled to if we worship and become friends with Jesus? We will have countless entitlements. For example Jesus mentions to us in our gospel for today that if we go to Him and believe in Him we will never hunger and thirst anymore. How could this happen? We will not know until we try, we will not know until we develop that especial relationship with Jesus.

Many of us don’t feel the big impact that Jesus does in our lives because we don’t dare take Him seriously. We sometimes leave Him in favor of this world yet there are times also that we go to Him on bended knees because we are in need of Him. But after the storms in our lives we again start to distance ourselves from Jesus. How would we know the big impact that Jesus is capable of making in our lives if we don’t take Him seriously? If we treat Him like a thing which we only get when we are in need?

We will really not thirst and hunger anymore if only we would create a home for Jesus in our hearts. This is the key: To create a home for Jesus in our hearts so that we will personally feel that what He is saying is true.

Have you already opened your heart to Jesus?  – Marino J. Dasmarinas

http://jdasma.blogspot.com/2016/04/reflection-for-april-13-wednesday-of.html

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THE THIRD WEEK OF EASTER

Wednesday, April 13

ACTS 8:1B-8; Jn 6:35-40

SPIRITUAL ADOPTION

One of the leadership qualities of Jesus was that he defended his disciples always. He defended them when they were accused of breaking the Sabbath, not observing fasting and so on. It was because Jesus was aware of the fact that the heavenly Father has entrusted them for his care.

In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks of his mission on this earth, namely to fulfil the will of the Father who has sent him. And the will of God for Jesus was that he must take care of all his disciples till the last day (v.39). It is because they were given to him by the heavenly Father himself. To fulfil the will of the Father, he kept his disciples close to him for three years. He paid their taxes, prepared breakfast on the sea shore and healed the mother-in-law of Peter.

Jesus was considerate not only to his disciples but to everyone else as if they all belong to his own family; the synagogue official who was not even a Jew, the woman caught in adultery, the five thousand for whom he multiplied bread.

In today’s society we have lost the sensitivity to others’ needs because we do not think that we are any way related to them.  If we can see the beggar on the road side, the children in the railway platform, the women exploited, etc. as the members of our own family, then we would become more sensitive to their pain. We need spiritual adoption whereby we see others as our own brothers and sisters. Through this spiritual adoption of the weak and the marginalised in our parish, neighbourhood and society we will be able to relate with them as the members of our own family. We will become responsible to their pain, suffering, joy and growth in life.

Mother Mary who adopted the entire human race from the foot of the cross may help us! Fr. Johnson Bezalel CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2016-04-13

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April 13, 2016

REFLECTION: The word zeal is defined thus in the Collins Dictionary: “fervent or enthusiastic devotion, often extreme or fanatical in nature.“ That definition seems to fit the apostle Paul’s frame of mind before his conversion. (He was then known as Saul). In yesterday’s first reading it is written that, as Stephen was being stoned to death by an angry mob, “the witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul” and that “Saul was there, approving his murder.” In today’s first reading, we learn that “Saul was trying to destroy the Church. He entered house after house and dragged off men and women, and had them put in jail.“ This behavior is obviously that of a man full of zeal for his Jewish faith (which he thinks is being threatened by the Christian faith). It reminds us of our contemporary Muslim extremists who blow themselves up in suicidal car bombs aimed at killing Christians. Is their zeal sincere? It certainly is. Yet like Paul’s their actions are to be strongly condemned—not their hearts, however. We will be surprised one day to discover how many zealots of all stripes ended up in Paradise because, though their cause was evil, their heart was pure.

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/3502-april-13-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Easter

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