3rd Week in Easter, Friday – 23rd April 2021 — Gospel: John 6,52-59
Great Teaching in the Synagogue
This long discourse on the bread of life takes place in the synagogue in Capernaum (6,59). The crowd had followed Jesus and His disciples to Capernaum from the northeast of the Sea of Galilee. Right from His ministry, Jesus was teaching in Capernaum, the hometown of Peter, Andrew, and James. This was a town of commerce at the foot of the hill where he taught the beatitudes of the kingdom. It was the town where Jesus originally called his apostles, when they were working on the seashore of Galilee. It was in this town that Jesus challenged his apostles, religious leaders, friends and followers with the truths he came to teach. He did not shy away from the tougher-to-believe aspects of his messages, especially of His seven “I am” statements. He taught them in Capernaum synagogue the strongest mainline belief of the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Although the truth that Christ is the Bread of God, which came down from heaven, who gives eternal life to all who feed on Him (6,58), was difficult to believe, yet they are extremely beautiful. God wants to sustain us in the desert of this life. Jesus wants His followers to be in communion with Him and to feed on Him in this life, which will give them eternal life in the future. Jesus enables all his believers to be with Him and endure faithfully all the challenges of life, as He is “the source” of nourishment and life. He loves us and wants us to believe in Him, even if we don’t understand everything of what he said in this discourse.
3rd Week in Easter, Thursday – 22nd April 2021 — Gospel: John 6,44-51
Great Mystery and Blessed Reality
Jesus summarized the entire salvation process as driven from above. In strong terms, He stated that no man could come to Him unless the Father drew him. He goes on to explain how the Father draws all men. First of all, quoting from Isaiah 54,13, “And they shall all be taught by God”, and mentioning “it is written in the prophets” (Jn 6,45) Jesus gives evidence to His teaching from the prophetical teachings. This thought that has explicit reference to Isaiah is found throughout all the prophets. God does not simply choose individuals but speaks to their hearts through the teaching of His precious Word. Therefore, it is by the teachings of God’s Word and God’s Spirit that people are drawn unto Himself. It is God who reaches out to humans and touches them, and communicates to them the truth of His existence and the truth of His great, eternal love. Secondly, man’s own responsibility is involved. Those who “listen” to the teaching of God’s Word and “learn” from the Father are the ones who come to Christ. Coming to Jesus starts with listening. Listen to the Father and learn from Him. If one has not learned something from God’s teaching, then one hasn’t learned much about the true meaning of life. Paul says, it is by the Word that we see God and receive the faith to come to Christ and trust in Him (Rom 10,17). Indeed, it is a great mystery and a blessed reality bestowed upon God’s chosen ones. Thus Jn 6,45 places side by side the two great truths of God’s sovereignty and man’s choice. It shows that salvation has a divine side (God’s teaching) and human side (our response) as well.