Scripture: Lectionary 273, April 15. Acts 6: 8-15. Psalm 119:23-24.26-27.29-30. John 6: 22-29:
During the past three weeks of the Easter season our readings have centered on the following: Baptism, the Eucharist, witnessing to the Gospel and Resurrection, and deepening one’s faith. All, of these themes are related and help us to build up the Body of Christ, the Church.
Stephen, the first deacon named, becomes a primary model and mentor for witnessing to the Lord Jesus Christ in word and deed. In tomorrow’s readings we will focus exclusively on him.
Faith contains to be developed for us through the psalm that is chosen for our reflection and leads us to appreciate the other themes mentioned above by making the Psalm our prayer of faith. It will help us to understand the sequence of the Eucharist as developed fully in the ongoing reading of chapter six of John in our Gospels for this week. The Psalmist shows us that our personal meditation on God’s words, precepts, and commandments strengthen our faith and help us to blameless before the Lord.
In the Gospel, Jesus leads the crowd to reflect more deeply on the meaning of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish. They take pains to follow Jesus wherever he is and search for him relentlessly. This gives him the opportunity to deepen their faith in him. They need to go beyond the signs of the multiplication; they need to go beyond their own hunger for earthly food. By following and listening to Jesus, they are able to learn about the Bread that comes down from heaven.
We, too, learn from these readings how to grow in our belief in the presence of God in the signs of bread and wine used in the celebration of the Eucharist. We need the Scriptures to prepare us for deepening our understanding of this great gift that complements our Baptism on a daily basis if we wish. We hear Jesus telling us, “Have faith in the one God has sent.” Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.