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BREAD FOR ETERNITY

Father Francis's picture
Third Week of Easter

Acts. 8:26-40 & Jn. 6:44-51

When Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father draws him”, He is telling us that it is the Father who draws souls to Him. Those individuals who heard Christ’s words and were drawn to Him that day were doing so because of a gift of faith from the Father. If we today have faith in Christ, it also is a gift from the Father, who wants to draw us to His Son. If we have doubts or weakness in faith, we should ask the Father to draw us nearer to His Son, and to help us believe with our whole heart and mind.

It is no coincidence that Christ’s birth took place in Bethlehem which in Hebrew means "house of bread" and was laid in a manger where food for animals would normally be placed. Under the appearance of bread He is our spiritual food. But merely giving us some specially blessed bread would not be nearly as significant as giving Himself. That is why He became Man and this is how God always loves: by giving Himself completely and without reserve.

The Gospel accounts of Christ multiplying the loaves explain His actions, "I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with Me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way" (Matthew 15:32). This same compassion moves Him to give Himself under the appearance of bread in the Eucharist because He does not want us to die for lack of spiritual nourishment. In the greatest gesture of humility ever known Christ became man like us, the same in every way except sin, and then in an even greater gesture of humility, He descended further still to become our spiritual food.

It is the Father who leads souls to Christ and it was the Father who planted the thirst for the divine in the heart of the Ethiopian eunuch, in today's reading from the Acts, to seek the satisfaction for that thirst in the prophet Isaiah's passage, “Like a sheep that is led to the slaughter-house, like a lamb that is dumb in front of its shearers, like these He never opens his mouth.”

It is the Spirit who sends Philip to the eunuch to bring his budding faith and his hunger for God to its flowering. Philip baptises him and the man “went on his way rejoicing”.

Lord Jesus, how much You have proved Your love for us! You not only became a human just like us, but You also descended to an even humbler state of service to become food for our souls. Help us to receive You in the Eucharist with gratitude, fully aware of Your loving presence.

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