Meditation for the Day

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter, April 30

No One Can Know Jesus Unless the Father Teaches Him, and No One Can Know the Father Unless Jesus Invites Him, a Mystery of God for Which Each of Us Owes Our Most Heartfelt Gratitude for This Most Wondrous Gift of Faith.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus continues His discourse on the “bread of life”. It is the first time that Jesus discusses the concept of the Eucharist when He says, “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 it is our Lord’s discourse in the beginning of today’s Reading which allows us to consider Philip’s relationship with the Ethiopian, and all that transpired between them, and Philip’s continuing ministry of evangelization itself, when Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him…‘They shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.”

It is this passage today which ties all of our Readings together under a single theme – the profoundness of the unfathomable Love which our Heavenly Father has for each of His children!

Most, if not all of us, have been taught since our childhood that the faith which we profess is a gift from God. When one takes the time to truly reflect upon this Divine Truth, this is a concept which can become quite remarkable and overwhelming in its very nature!

We had no say in who our parents were going to be. We had no say as to what faith our parents might be practicing. But because of God’s Infinite Love for you and me, it was His will that we be introduced to the faith we now profess. And in taking the time to read this daily meditation, it is because we made a free-will choice to not only accept His gift to us, but to also exercise that gift by putting our faith into practice.

“‘They shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.”

What an amazing, eye-opening realization! – that God the Father chose you and me to be taught by Him, through His Spirit, to receive His Truth, just as He chose the Ethiopian in our First Reading. God even sent an angel to direct Philip, who was one of the original seven deacons, to proclaim the Good News to this man from not only a different country, but also a different continent!

The question ultimately begs to be asked – “Why me? Why have I been given this most wondrous gift? And why are there so many others in the world – Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and countless others – who were not given this opportunity which you and I have been given?”

I do not believe that anyone has an adequate answer to that question, for it is truly one of the mysteries of God’s providential Love. The only comment that any of us can truly say in prayer each and every morning is a deeply heartfelt “thank You” to our Most Loving and Eternal Father for this gift with which you and I have been blessed!

We could have been born into or raised by any other family, a family which practices a faith other than what you and I profess today, and we could have remained in that spiritual environment.

But instead, He predestined that you and I be brought up and, through the providential Hand of God, we would end up, in one way or another, professing that Jesus Christ is our personal Lord and Savior, the Eternal Word made flesh, who came to live amongst us and teach us about the profoundness of God’s Truth, and who died and rose from the dead so that we may have eternal life in His Most Holy Name!

But this gift is not a guarantee of eternal life in Heaven. Our response to this gift is what determines how our eternity shall be lived! For we also have another gift from God at the moment of our conception in our mother’s womb – the gift of “free will”.

God allows us a free hand in how we live our lives and what we do to our souls with the choices which we make throughout our daily pilgrimage in this life. It is His will, His desire, however, that we live morally good lives, that we obey the Precepts of His Church and obey all His Commandments.

What did our Lord once say? “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

This “yoke” to which Jesus is referring is our obedience to His Word, from which we shall find and enjoy the gift of eternal peace and happiness for our souls.

Each of us is endowed with the gift of an immortal soul. And due to the gift of faith, and our Heavenly Father’s invitation to believe in His Son, you and I are obliged to embrace the Natural Law – a code of conduct, if you will, designed by God which urges us to do what is good and to avoid what is evil.

And we are not unfamiliar with this moral code, for the Holy Spirit makes it known to each and every one of us in the very depths of our consciences, and we fulfill its requirements by means of our love for God and love for our neighbor, and observing all that God asks of us.

“‘They shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.”

This Father, who is our Heavenly and Eternal Father, out of His immeasurable Love and an infinite desire that we spend our eternity with Him in His Heavenly Kingdom, has made it easier for us to attain this goal by bringing us to an awareness of who Jesus truly is.

He has sent His Spirit to teach us about the “bread of life” made available to us through the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist – the Holy Mass. Through His Spirit, He has opened our hearts, the eyes and ears of our very souls, to the Living Presence of Jesus on the Altar as the means of our spiritual nourishment throughout our life’s journey.

Through His Spirit, our Heavenly Father has given us the means by which we may be reconciled to Him for our sinful and fallen nature – the Sacrament of Reconciliation – wherein His priest, sitting “in persona Christi Capitis”, in the person of Christ the Head, forgives us our sins and reconciles us to our Eternal Father Himself.

And Jesus, because of our belief in Him and our love for Him, in turn invites us and introduces us to His Father, a reciprocal act of Love, when He said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

And this is a part of the mystery of God – no one can know Jesus unless the Father teaches him, and no one can know the Father unless Jesus invites him. And this becomes food for our meditation today, for which we owe God our deepest and most heartfelt thanksgiving for the faith which we truly embrace – a faith which teaches us that we were created out of Divine Love, and sustained each and every day through His Love!

What is important for us to know and to believe is that this Father – who created both you and me, who loves you and me – is our Most Loving Father. As one person describes Him, He is our “Daddy God” – someone who will never leave us, someone who will always be there to watch over us. He will always be there to protect and guide us on our journey through this vale of tears.

But it is also important for us to know and understand that our Father in Heaven is also someone who will chastise us when we do wrong, but He does so because He loves us and only wants us to be and do better, just as any loving parent would with his or her own child.

The next time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father, let us take the time to think about what we say to Him in this prayer that Jesus taught us, for it is a prayer about love and adoration; it is a prayer about petition and protection.

It is truly a prayer about the relationship which God is asking us to have with Himself – one which is based upon our total confidence in His Eternal and Merciful Love.

If this meditation has touched your heart, please share it with all those whom you love, with all those whom you wish to see traveling along the narrow path which, with the help of God’s grace, leads to eternal life. For this is God’s invitation to each and every one of us!

“Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.”

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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.

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Scripture for the Day

  • “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day.” (John 6:44)
  • “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.” (John 6:45)
  • “All your children shall be taught by the LORD; great shall be the peace of your children.” (Isaiah 54:13)
  • “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)
  • “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
  • “No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6b)
  • “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are.” (John 17:11cd)
  • “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3-4)
  • “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name.” (Matthew 6:9b)

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Prayer for the Day

“Eternal God,
Who are the Light of the minds that know You,
the Joy of the hearts that love You,
and the Strength of the wills that serve You.

“Grant us so to know You, that we may truly love You,
and so to love You that we may fully serve You,
Whom to serve is perfect freedom,
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Saint Augustine of Hippo

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