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Thursday, of the Third Week of Easter
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. It is written in the prophets: ‘They shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, thank you for sending Jesus to us! Jesus, I believe you are the living bread come down from heaven! The Eucharist is your most loving, mysterious, and awesome gift. Teach me, Lord, so that I might grow in deeper understanding and love for the Eucharist during this time of prayer.
- Draw Me: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him…” It is not our own will that first prompts us to come to Jesus, but it is God the Father’s love for each of us. He acts first and we in turn respond by accepting Jesus’s invitation to come to him. We are like the tiny shavings of iron that are “drawn” to a magnet; God’s love is irresistible! Well, almost. We do, at times, resist his love. We choose to deny ourselves our greatest good. What an awesomely beautiful, but potentially self-destructive “gift” our free will is. Lord, make us wise and loving!
- Ear of the Heart: “They shall be taught by God” is a reference to Old Testament prophecies. Isaiah 54:13 says, “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord.” Jeremiah 31:33 says, “I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts…” Joel 3:1 says, “It shall come to pass I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” So mysterious is Our Lord’s communication lovingly whispered into the heart; it is certainly beyond the human intellect that often wishes to codify knowledge on charts! Complete trust and total surrender to the Spirit unlocks and softens the heart, enabling a person to hear in external silence the sublime expression, the very breath of God!
- Manna versus Living Bread: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” Manna, the bread of heaven that fed the Israelites in the desert, prefigures the new living bread that is Jesus’s flesh. While the heaven-sent manna provided bodily nourishment, it had no spiritual effect nor prevented them from dying, but Jesus, sent by the Father, promises a new bread that gives spiritual nourishment and fills us with the divine grace necessary for eternal life. How might we share the truth of the Eucharist at a time when so many are walking away?
Conversing with Christ: Praise you, Lord, for this time of prayer! I relish the awesome yet overwhelming gift of the Eucharist! Oh Holy Spirit, bestow on me a docile beatitude that I might discern your tender whispers in the silence of prayer.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will go to Mass and receive the Eucharist with a greater fervency than ever before.
For Further Reflection: See Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary. Listen to “Spirit of God Rain Down,” written and composed by Joseph Jose Chundayil, also known as Nelson Jose. Nelson published this song under the album name “Spirit of God.”
Written by Janice Neyer
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