Daily Readings for 4/30/09

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Reflection on the Daily Readings for 4/30/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings


Scripture: Acts of the Apostles 8:26-40. Psalm 66:8-9.16-17.20. John
6:44-51. Lectionary # 276:

“If anyone eats this bread, he shall live forever, the bread I will
give is my flesh, for the life of the world.” (John 6:51).  John brings us
back to his prologue with this statement: “And the Word became flesh and
dwelt among us…”(John 1:14).  The language is sacrificial in the Bible.
It is Jesus’ flesh which is sacrificed for the world. To “give flesh on
behalf of” has this sense of sacrifice . Later under the title of Good
Shepherd Jesus will say, …”for these sheep I will give my life” (John
10:15).

We will soon see Jesus using an expression that indicates his
divinity as well as his humanity as the chapter reaches its conclusion in
the next few days.  This expression is the Johannine “EGO EIMI” or the many
ways in which Jesus says, “I am the Bread of Life; I am the way, the truth,
and the life; I am the gate of the sheepfold; I am the Good Shepherd, etc.”
He is one with the Father as the Word of God from all eternity as we have
seen in the Prologue of John (John 1:1-18).  In chapter six it is
definitely the emphasis of the I am of Jesus which says, “I am the Bread of
Life.”

Fr. George MacRae in his concise commentary on John shows us how we
can interpret this in the other proclamations that begin with “I am.”
“Where should the emphasis lie, on the “I” or on the Bread of Life?” The
answer is not obvious but it is more in harmony with the Christocentrism of
the Gospel to suppose that the symbols are meant to be well known–indeed
they were in the ancient world. In that case Jesus is saying, “what you
long for in the religious symbol of the bread of life is to be found in me.
The emphasis is on the “I”.(see Commentary on John, p.90).

Another commentator says, “The Father’s gift is an attraction; all
are taught by him; all who listen and learn are drawn by him to
Jesus.” (Dom Ralph Russell.This is the teaching in St. John that comes from
the heart of God to our hearts (see Isaiah 54:13 and Jeremiah
31:33ff). Amen.

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