Thursday, April 26, 2012

Friday of the Third Week of Easter

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever." These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. (John 6: 52-59)

Introductory Prayer:Lord Jesus, thank you for these moments of prayer that are so important for my Christian life. Grant me faith in the midst of a world that thirsts for your presence. I trust in your love and your guidance in this time of prayer and throughout the day. I promise to give myself fully in this time of prayer, seeking to know you more deeply.

Petition:Lord, grant me the courage to live my life as an authentic Catholic.

1. The Jews Quarreled Among Themselves.
Picture the scene. Jesus has caused a great controversy among those who were listening to him, including many of his close followers. Why were they quarrelling? Jesus must have been so convinced about his teaching on the Eucharist that no one listening could remain neutral. He even repeats it again: “My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” He is not talking about symbols. This is a challenging teaching for our times too. In this teaching, as in many others, the Church stands as a sign of contradiction just as Christ did. Do I truly believe in the Eucharist? Do I give testimony of my faith and know how to explain it to others? Jesus wants us to follow him in proclaiming this truth, even though it may cause a stir.

2. How Can He Do It?
With God all things are possible! The Jews in the Gospel asked how Jesus could give his flesh to eat. On a natural level, this is a pretty good question. As a supernatural reality the mystery of the Eucharist can only be understood by faith. We should not question so much how God does it. Rather we should believe that he has done it out of love for each one of us. Out of love, Jesus became a man for each of us. Out of love, Jesus spent 30 years hidden away in Nazareth.
Out of love, he suffered and died and remained with us in many ways, especially in the Eucharist. Let us pray for the Catholic Church so that the Holy Spirit will rekindle a Eucharistic “amazement” among all of the People of God.

3. Remain in My Love.
Jesus has promised to remain with us until the end of time. In today’s Gospel he renews with ardent enthusiasm –– even amidst rejection — that he is with us. He is the bread that came down from heaven. Have we experienced his powerful presence recently? Jesus promises that whoever eats his body and drinks his blood will remain in him. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist each Sunday we pledge to live lives of union with Jesus Christ that reflect his presence in the world. We receive the body of Christ with a commitment to remain in his love. The first way is to keep his commandments. Another way is to speak with Christ during the day. Yet another is to practice an ardent charity for those around us. What is Christ asking of me today?

Dialogue with Christ: Lord Jesus, I am not scared to follow you in the contemporary world even though you are a sign of contradiction. I truly believe in you and ask for the grace to remain in you. Renew in your Church a Eucharistic “amazement” so that we will value the treasure of the Bread of Life. Comfort those who suffer for you and give us the strength to bear witness to your limitless love. Show me the way to follow you today, even if you call me to be a sign of contradiction.

Resolution: I resolve to step out of my “comfort zone” and courageously speak to someone today about some teaching of the Church that is commonly misunderstood

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