Friday of the Third Week of Easter, May 10
It Is the Gift of Eucharist, the Gift of Our Risen and Glorified Lord Himself, Which Helps Us to Truly Realize That Inner Peace and Joy We Find in the Good News of Jesus Christ.
We read in our Responsorial antiphon today, “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.”
And what is this “Good News”? It is the Eternal Truth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Eternal Word made flesh for our salvation, who freely surrendered His Life on the Cross and rose from the dead, so that you and I may have eternal life in His Name! And this same Jesus, the glorified Risen Lord, is given to us today – His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity – made present to us in the consecrated bread and wine which we consume at each Mass!
In yesterday’s Gospel, we heard our Lord say, “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.”
And today, He continues with the theme of eating this “living bread”, a concept which was very difficult for the Jewish people to understand – “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you.”
Those who listened to our Lord speak these very words understood that He was speaking of what we would describe today as cannibalism, for the Aramaic language spoken by Jesus and recorded in the early Greek Scriptures is very descriptive! With a little bit of imagination, we can actually picture the expression of utter revulsion on the faces of some of His disciples.
But Jesus was inviting each of them and us to be united with Him when He says, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”
The Jewish people could not grasp the full meaning of what our Lord was teaching, and Jesus would not further clarify it until the night of His Last Supper with His Apostles, the night that He would be betrayed, arrested and begin His Most Sorrowful Passion.
The Jewish people, listening to Jesus’ message about eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood in today’s Gospel, were more than just a little startled. In other words, they had to have been completely surprised and shocked at such a statement!
And Scripture tells us later that many of His disciples left Him, because they found His teaching too hard to accept. They knew that Jesus was not talking about some kind of symbolism, but actually eating and drinking His actual Body and Blood.
You and I have the advantage of almost two thousand years of Church teaching, the understanding of the early Church Fathers, and scholarly analysis of the Greek texts. We know that Jesus was presenting to the Jewish people the reality of the Eucharist when He says, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.”
As you and I marvel at this most wondrous Gift which our Lord has left us, we can only begin to understand the thoughts that must have filled the mind of Saul, when he was filled with the Holy Spirit at his Baptism, and the Scriptures go on to tell us that after having “stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus, he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.”
“Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.” And this is exactly the mission which Saul freely accepted for Himself, for he was Divinely chosen by our Lord to preach the “Good News” to the Gentiles – the non-Jewish communities.
There is so much beauty in this faith we live every day. We just lived with Jesus through the holiest of days, when He suffered, died and rose from the dead, so that we might be reconciled to our Eternal Father and may have eternal life with Him in His Heavenly Kingdom!
And it is the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s Death and Resurrection which stands at the very heart of this “Good News” which the Apostles, and those following them, proclaimed to the world.
Saint Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatians, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption.”
And what better Parent to have by adoption than God the Father Himself! And what better nourishment for our journey through life than the “bread of life”, the Risen and Glorified Christ Himself! – Jesus’ Eucharistic Presence among us – His Real Presence in a piece of bread and some wine which have been transformed into His Body and Blood for us to consume!
What a most wondrous gift He has truly left for His children! No wonder Saul was anxious to begin his ministry of preaching the “Good News” of Jesus Christ to all who would hear his voice!
And this is also what each of us is called to do – to preach the “Good News” – to evangelize in ways which the Holy Spirit leads each of us to give witness to His Truth in our daily lives. For as Saint Francis of Assisi once said, “Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.” In other words, we preach by the witness and the example we give for others to see and follow.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI once said in a homily he gave back in 2005, “The New Testament is truly ‘Gospel,’ the ‘Good News’ that brings us joy.” And this faith which we exercise in our hearts, this faith which you and I practice in our daily lives, is truly an exercise of joy!
I am filled with sadness at the fanaticism which I find many practicing throughout the world in the name of a God whom they so misunderstand, an extremism which many people live in their hearts which does not allow for any sense of real peace.
It is no wonder that our Lord Himself calls our faith in Him “Good News” – for it is a faith which fills our hearts with peace and joy; it is a faith which teaches us to love, and to love without constraints or restrictions. And when lived in fulfillment of all that Jesus has asked of us, it is a faith which will bring us eternal life.
And is that not our goal in life, to know, love and serve God so that we may have eternal life with Him? And how do we get to know, love and serve Him better? We do so by living the beatitudes and His Commandments in our every thought, word and deed, for they are at the very core of Jesus’ teaching; they are at the very heart of living the “Good News” here on this side of Heaven.
And it is in the living of our faith, and the strength which Jesus’ Eucharistic Presence gives to us, which helps us to realize that inner peace and joy.
May we truly live this most wondrous gift of faith in our daily lives, always deeply grateful for the gift of Eucharist – Jesus’ gift of Himself to each of us!
And may we always show our heartfelt gratitude through the witness we give to this “Good News” – just as Saul did – through the selfless giving of our love for others! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “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.” (John 6:51)
- “Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you.’” (John 6:53)
- “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” (John 6:54-56)
- “…the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:23b-26)
- “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption.” (Galatians 4:4-5)
- “Afterward [Jesus] journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.” (Luke 8:1ab)
- “[Saul] stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus, and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” (Acts 9:19b-20)
- “[Jesus] said to them, ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.’” (Mark 16:15)
Prayer for the Day
“Soul of Christ, sanctify me;
Body of Christ, save me;
Blood of Christ, inebriate me;
Water from the side of Christ, wash me;
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
“O good Jesus, hear me;
Within Your wounds hide me;
separated from You, let me never be;
From the evil one, protect me;
At the hour of my death, call me;
And close to You, bid me.
“That with Your saints,The Anima Christi (14th century prayer)
I may praise You forever and ever. Amen.”