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Yielding to the Father
Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
Jesus said to the crowds: “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 Jesus, you continue to call me closer to you my whole life long. Help me, today, to take one step closer, to surrender any doubt, to learn to rest in you.
- The Gift of Grace: Jesus knew this teaching was a difficult one. His meaning wouldn’t be fully revealed until the Last Supper, with the institution of the Eucharist. He asked them to believe in him then, and he invites us to believe now. We don’t come to faith in Jesus on our own. “Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him” (CCC 153). The whole of our spiritual life begins with grace. We are just responding to the gift of life, the gift of grace, the gift of God instilled in us from the moment of our Baptism. Jesus alone can enlighten our hearts to see God is Love. Lord, increase our faith!
- The Face of God: In the Old Testament, the Jewish people slowly learned to appreciate that God was nourishing them with manna and with the Torah, or Law. But they longed to see the “face” of their Provider. Jesus makes seeing the face of God possible. As he told Philip in John 14:9, “when you see me, you see the Father.” By believing in him, we are offered a perfect and loving image of the Father as well as nourishment for our souls in the Eucharist, forgiveness of sin, and a new life—eternal life. Lord, show us your face!
- Bread from Heaven: For a second and third time in this Gospel, Jesus claimed to be bread come down from Heaven. His flesh is life-giving and is meant for the whole world. Without Jesus’ suffering in the flesh, dying in the flesh, and rising into eternal life, we would be doomed in our flesh. “He who is all-knowing knew of nothing more that he could give than the Eucharist. He who is all-powerful could not do any more than he does in the sacrament and he who is all-loving had nothing more that he could give. The Eucharist is a Divine storehouse filled with every virtue” (St. Augustine).
Closing Prayer: Lord, I believe that eternal life comes from eating your Body and drinking your Blood. Help me to always believe, to always respond to the gift of faith I have been given. Help me, by my life, to witness to the difference this makes in my life.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will strive to see you really present in the Eucharist I receive at Mass and also in my brothers and sisters.
For Further Reflection: Listen to Bishop Robert Barron’s talk at the 2020 Religious Education Congress on The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Janet Scanlan is a lifelong Catholic, wife, mother, and grandmother who is passionate about helping people know and live the love of Christ through marriage ministry, evangelization, writing, and work as a spiritual director.