TUESDAY, THIRD WEEK OF EASTERReading 1: Acts 7:51 – 8:1 Stephen condemns his persecutors and is in turn condemned and executed by them. Stephen dies, forgiving his executioners. Gospel: Jn 6:30-35 Jesus says it is the Father who gives people “heavenly bread” and then claims to be that bread himself.
EUCHARIST: BREAD OF LIFE
In today’s gospel, Jesus uses a divine name for himself, “I AM the bread of life.” This was the name which God revealed to Moses – “I AM WHO I AM.” It was this God who liberated the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt. He fed them with manna in the desert, a fact which the people in the gospel passage remind Jesus of. However, they quoted from the Scriptures: “He gave them bread from heaven to eat” (Ex 16:4), and attributed the miracle to Moses, instead of giving glory to God. They do this to instigate Jesus into performing a similar sign to prove that he is greater than Moses.
Jesus corrects them that it was not Moses who gave them the manna, but his Heavenly Father. Furthermore, he said that the kind of bread they received through Moses’ intercession did not give them eternal life. Those Israelites in the wilderness ate the bread, and they died. Jesus said, however, that he was offering them the true bread from heaven, bread that brings eternal life. The people do not comprehend and interpret his words in material terms. He referred to himself, “the bread of God which comes down from heaven and gives life”.
Jesus adds; “I AM the bread of life, whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” To “come to Jesus” is to bond oneself closely to him and all he stands for. To “believe in” Jesus implies much more than just receiving Jesus in Communion.
To eat that bread of life we have to soak ourselves in the life of Jesus, to penetrate deeply into the Word of God that comes to us in the Gospel and the rest of the Scriptures, to assimilate his Way into our own lives. Jesus extends the same call to us as well, offering us the promise of eternal life in the sacrament of Eucharist. The Eucharist we celebrate is the sign of that bread of life which is available all day long to those who are in close contact with Jesus. Response: Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 31:3-4, 6-8, 17, 21 Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit
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