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Yesterday’s Desert, Today’s Jungle
Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter
So they said to him, “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 him, “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, I thank you and praise you for this time to quiet my mind, to speak and listen to you. Your words, “I am the bread of life!” move me. Jesus, I trust in you; help me trust more.
- “What Sign Can You Do, That We May See and Believe in You?”: Who dares to ask Jesus this question? Aren’t these the same people who witnessed the multiplication of loaves and fish one day earlier? Some people, because of their limited vision, fail to see anything but an impressive event as a sign. Fortunate are the people who stop, ponder, and internalize the more subtle signs God gives them through the years. Recalling past signs (grand or small) strengthens us to face our future with confidence. Our Lord beckons us to take a few minutes now to look for the signs he provides for us today, thank him, and pray about how to respond.
- “What Can You Do?”: We, as disciples and children of God, can be signs to every person we encounter. This is discipleship. We live in confusing times in our world and within our beloved Church. When we hear Gospel truths being misrepresented, more than ever, the Lord calls us to be loving when we are not being shown love, kind when we see others act out of selfishness, and courageous and composed when we speak up to address a wrong. “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7).
- “Sir, Give Us This Bread Always”: Jesus reminded the people that it wasn’t Moses who provided the manna from heaven while they wandered through the desert, but God the Father. Enthusiastically, they asked for that bread always, and Jesus began to prepare them to hear the Good News of the Eucharist. The true bread of God is Jesus, who came down from heaven to give life to the world! Their hearts must have burned, their eyes must have become as big as saucers when Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Jesus’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, while hidden in the sign of bread, always nourishes us, strengthens us, and carries us through the difficulties and confusion in daily life, as long as we believe and trust in him!
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, you are my bread of life! I say with Peter “Master, to whom shall we (I) go? You have the words of eternal life.” Also like Peter, I know I often fail you, Lord. Sometimes I am not a sign pointing to you at all. But, I know that when I repent and resolve to embrace your will by the power of the Holy Spirit, I become the person you created me to be, an authentic sign to others.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will be an intentional sign with my words and actions to a friend, co-worker, or family member.
For Further Reflection: Listen to the courageous 1994 speech of Mother Teresa speaking truth to power.
Written by Janice Neyer