Reflection on the Daily Readings for 4/27/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Mon. of 3rd week after Easter.  Acts 6:8-15. Psalm
119:23-24.26-27.29-30. John 6:22-29. Lectionary # 273.

"This is the work of God: have faith in the One whom God has
sent." (John 6:29). Jesus continues his long discourse on the Bread of Life
dialoguing with the people and informing all of us about what the meaning
of the multiplication of the loaves is all about.  It is a sign that
reveals who Jesus is for the crowds of his time and for us in our time.
That is the marvelous fact about the Bible; it speaks to each one, to every
Christian community, and to us as Catholics who have a deep belief in the
reality of the Eucharist that shows us Christ is alive and well in our time
for us. This is our way of participating in what the apostles experienced
in the Resurrection appearances and how they too finally saw him in the
"breaking of the bread."

Jesus sustains us and nourishes us just as he fed the five thousand
on the green hills of Galilee. He is our food that is a sign we are
destined for eternal life and that our death is not life taken away but
life changed and transformed through our own union with God, the Creator
and giver of our life who gives and does not take away.

More than the other Gospels which are soteriological, that is, they
show us Jesus as Savior and Redeemer; this Gospel of John is revelatory.
It opens up for us the spiritual vision necessary to get beyond the simple
historical and literal interpretation of who Jesus really is.  This Gospel
confirms his divinity and his humanity with the greatest statement in the
New Testament and possibly in the Bible: "And the Word was made flesh and
dwelt among us." (John 1:14). That verse helps us to understand what Jesus
will say in all of the other chapters of John but especially in this
chapter on the Eucharist. Jesus will reveal himself by seven signs in this
Gospel and then through his monologues, dialogues and personal
communications with people like Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman, and the
blind man of chapter nine.  Jesus will say to us, " I am the Bread of Life;
I am the way, the truth, and the life; I am the good shepherd, the gate,
the Son of God, the Word of God from all eternity who is One with the
Father.These statements are real revelations that come from God the Spirit
and from the mouth of Jesus.  They are what lead us to believe in him and
then to witness to him and invite others to believe that he is the Christ,
the one who has come into the world.

Within three generations after this Gospel, St. Justin, a converted
philosopher and martyr gave us the understanding of what Eucharist is in
the second century.  It is one of the earliest and clearest descriptions of
Christ in the Eucharist and in the community of believers.  Here is a short
excerpt: "We do not consume the eucharistic bread and wine as if it were
ordinary food and drink, for we have been taught that Jesus Christ our
Savior became a man of flesh and blood by the power of the Word of God, so
also the food that our flesh and blood assimilates for its nourishment
becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus by the power of his own
words contained in the prayer of thanksgiving.(the Eucharist)...The
eucharist is distributed, everyone present communicates, and the deacons
take it to those who are absent." (St. Justin, First Apology, chapter
66-67).  Amen.