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Signs and Wonders
Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter
The crowd said to Jesus: “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” So Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” So they said to Jesus, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to me as I turn my heart to you. I need your resurrected power and life. Make my heart burn while you speak to me.
- Asking for Signs: You may recall in yesterday’s reading that the Galileans asked Jesus what work they must do. Jesus invited them to believe in him. And just a moment later they asked again, “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?” It is reminiscent of the Israelites in the desert asking Moses for signs after they had already walked through the Red Sea, and received the Ten Commandments, manna from heaven, and water from a rock. These people followed because they witnessed the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes just the day before, yet they asked again. We, too, have also seen so much and yet we struggle in our faith. We ask for signs. When we don’t see the answer from God that we want, we can get quite discouraged and question God’s power or providence. Let’s reflect on moments when it has been hard to see God’s power, our moments of questioning, and ask for an increase in faith.
- Holy Moses: The people themselves invoked Moses, almost as if to say, “Why can’t you be like Moses?” Once again, they want signs and wonders on their terms in order to believe in Jesus. Yet Jesus had to make the same point he made earlier. The signs he offered were like the signs Moses offered. They point to God’s power. It was God who was at work, both then and now. The Trinity was present in the divine person of Jesus Christ. Just as God had fed them with manna through Moses, he was now sending a new and more perfect and eternal nourishment in Jesus.
- The Real Bread: “Sir, give us this bread always,” the crowd asked. They wanted a bread that would give them life. That was why they pursued Jesus across the lake and followed his signs. They wanted life! They wanted salvation! They wanted God! Jesus could offer them that and much more. He told them as much when he said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” The answer to all we long for is Jesus Christ. He is the bread that will satisfy us forever. Let’s spend some time expressing to Jesus how much we want him and beg for the graces of the Spiritual Communion prayer that says “never let me be parted from you.”
Conversing with Christ: Lord, may I seek you with all my heart and for all the right reasons. I desire the infinite and the eternal. To never go hungry! To never thirst again! I know you can provide that and so much more. I love you and want to follow you all the days of my life. Indeed, never let me be parted from you. Amen.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pray a spiritual communion to unite myself to the Eucharist being celebrated around the world. “My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love you above all things, and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were already there and unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.”
For Further Reflection: The holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Those who have been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by Baptism and configured more deeply to Christ by Confirmation participate with the whole community in the Lord’s own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist. “At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and Resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet ‘in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1322-23).
Fr. Mark Haydu, LC, is a priest living in Rye, New York. He currently serves as the local New York Chaplain for the Lumen Institute where he offers spiritual coaching to business leaders seeking to integrate faith, character, and leadership: www.lumeninstitute.org. He hails from Akron, Ohio.