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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter

1st Reading (Acts 8:1-8): There broke out a severe persecution of the Church in Jerusalem, and all were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria, except the Apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him. Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the Church; entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment. Now those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. Thus Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Christ to them. With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing. For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice, came out of many possessed people, and many paralyzed and crippled people were cured. There was great joy in that city.
Responsorial Psalm: 65
R/. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth, sing praise to the glory of his name; proclaim his glorious praise. Say to God, «How tremendous are your deeds!».

«Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you, sing praise to your name!». Come and see the works of God, his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.

He has changed the sea into dry land; through the river they passed on foot; therefore let us rejoice in him. He rules by his might forever.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 6:40): Alleluia. Everyone who believe in the Son has eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day, says the Lord. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Jn 6,35-40): Jesus said to the crowds, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. But I told you that although you have seen me, you do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.”

«Whoever comes to me will never hunger»

Fr. Gavan JENNINGS (Dublín, Ireland)

Today we see how much our hunger and our thirst concern God! How can we continue to think that God is indifferent to our sufferings? And yet, so often, we “refuse to believe” in the tender love that God has for each one of us. In hiding himself in the Eucharist, God manifests the incredible lengths He will go to in order to satiate our thirst and our hunger.

But what thirst and hunger are these? Ultimately it is the hunger and thirst for “eternal life”. Physical hunger and thirst is only a pale reflection of a deep desire each man has for a divine life that only Christ can give us. «This is the will of the Father, that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall live with eternal life» (Jn 6,39). And what must we do to obtain this eternal life we so desire? Some heroic, superhuman feat? No, it is something much simpler for Jesus says: «Whoever comes to me, I shall not turn away» (Jn 6,37). We simply have to turn up – to come to Him.

These words of Christ spur us to come to him daily in Mass. This is the easiest thing in the world: simply to turn up at Mass, pray and then receive his Body. Once we do this, we not only possess this new life, but we radiate it to others. During a Corpus Christi homily, Pope Francis, the then Cardinal Bergoglio, said: «How beautiful it is, after receiving Holy Communion, to think of our lives as a prolonged Mass in which we bring the fruit of the presence of the Lord to the world of families, to the housing estates, to our study and work; thus we will also come to think of our life as a daily preparation for the Eucharist, in which the Lord takes everything that is ours and offers it once again to the Father».

«This is the will of the Father, that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall live with eternal life»

Fr. Joaquim MESEGUER García (Rubí, Barcelona, Spain)

Today Jesus reveals himself as the bread of life. At first sight, the definition He makes of himself is rather curious and paradoxical; but, when we dig into it a little further, we realize that with these words the meaning of his mission is clearly stated: to save man and give him a new life. «And the will of him who sent me is that I lose nothing of what He has given me, but instead that I raise it up on the last day» (Jn 6:39). This is why, to perpetuate his saving act of giving himself for us and his presence among us, Jesus Christ has become spiritual aliment for us.

God makes it possible for us to believe in Jesus Christ and get close to him: «Yet, all that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me, I shall not turn away. For I have come from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of the One who sent me» (Jn 6:37-38). Therefore, with our faith, let us get close to him who has decided to be our nourishment, our light and our life for, as Ignatius of Antioch affirms «faith is the principle of true life».

Jesus Christ invites us to follow him, to nourish ourselves through him, for this is what it means to see him and believe in him. At the same time, He shows us how to abide by his Father's will, just as He does. When teaching his disciples the prayer of the sons of God, the Lord's Prayer, He put together these two petitions: «Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today the bread that we need». This refers not only to the material bread, but to Himself, as the bread of eternal life whom, day after day, we have to remain very close to with the profound cohesion the Holy Spirit provides us with.