Monday of he Third Week in Easter
John 6:22-29 - World English Bible
22 On the next day, the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except the one in which his disciples had embarked, and that Jesus hadn't entered with his disciples into the boat, but his disciples had gone away alone. 23 However boats from Tiberias came near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 When the multitude therefore saw that Jesus wasn't there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats, and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?”
26 Jesus answered them, “Most certainly I tell you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Don't work for the food which perishes, but for the food which remains to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has sealed him.”
28 They said therefore to him, “What must we do, that we may work the works of God?”
29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
This passage introduced the Eucharistic discourse in John 6. 6:22-24 described the travel of the crowds vs. the arrival of the Jesus and his disciples in Capernaum; the journey set up the question the people asked in 6:25, "Rabbi, where did you come from?" The evangelist used the question of origin to distinguish between geographic travel (came from Tiberius) and divine mission (came from the Father). The Lord answered the reason the people followed him to Capernaum (signs and earthly food in 6:26) to address the subject of his mission (give bread that led to eternal life, for the Father sent him in 6:27). The people implicitly accepted this shift from geography to mission with their next question; they believed he came from God and revealed divine power, so what should they do to fulfill God's will? His answer was simple: become a disciple.
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Tuesday in the Third Week of Easter
John 6:30-35 - World English Bible
30 The crowd said therefore to Jesus, “What then do you do for a sign, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness. As it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.'”
32 Jesus therefore said to them, “Most certainly, I tell you, it wasn't Moses who gave you the bread out of heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”
34 They said therefore to him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will not be hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
This passage continued the Eucharistic dialogue of John 6. In 6:34, Jesus insisted to do God's will meant to believe in the Son, the One the Father sent. Referring to referred to Exodus 16:4, Nehemiah 9:15 and Psalm 78:24-25, the skeptical crowd basically said, "Prove it! Moses gave our ancestors manna as a sign. What's your sign?" The Lord appealed to the Father who would give the true bread from heaven. He was the bread of life; he was that sign. Those who came to him would never hunger or thirst.
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Wednesday in the Third Week of Easter
John 6:35-40 - World English Bible
35 Jesus said to the crowd, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will not be hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But I told you that you have seen me, and yet you don't believe. 37 All those whom the Father gives me will come to me. He who comes to me I will in no way throw out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. 39 This is the will of my Father who sent me, that of all he has given to me I should lose nothing, but should raise him up at the last day. 40 This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
In John 6:35, Jesus declared his origin and mission in one phrase: "I am the bread of life." To expand the analogy, bread came from a baker (in this case, the Father) and was consumed by the customer (in this case, the believer); the contents of bread (the Christ) gave sustenance that supported life. However, the analogy broke down with the type of life sustained. The Lord came to give eternal life; to receive this life required more than the physical activity of chewing; it required faith.
The phrase could also be translated: "I AM the living bread." This view emphasized the origin and mission of the Christ as divine. The evangelist employed the phrase "I AM" to refer to YHWH; he also used the adjective "living" as a modifier to indicate the active nature of YHWH's revelation ("living" stressed God as the One who works in history more than an omnipresent being to contemplated). Translated this way, God, in the person of the Son, acted in the world to share his life with the faithful. Since his life was unending, the believer would rise on the last day and also live forever.
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Thursday in the Third Week of Easter
John 6:44-51 - World English Bible
Jesus said to the crowd:
44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘They will all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who hears from the Father, and has learned, comes to me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except he who is from God. He has seen the Father. 47 Most certainly, I tell you, he who believes in me has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, that anyone may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
In these few verses, Jesus spoke of divine revelation, an encounter with God. In his classic book, "The Idea of the Holy," Rudolph Otto described the emotive nature of such a meeting in paradoxical terms; it can attract with the awesome presence of the Almighty and, at the same time, it can inflict dread. The Lord chose the attractive nature of revelation, as it drew people closer to their Maker. When Jesus quoted Isaiah 54:13 (a clear reference to YHWH inspiring the believer to follow the Torah), he shifted the identity of the true rabbi to himself; he was the "I AM" who would attract people with his teaching; he was the point of revelation, for he was the only one who had seen the Father.
Not only did revelation show the "who" of the encounter, but it also showed the "what" of the meeting. Jesus summed up the content of revelation in 6:47: "... he who believes in me has eternal life."
The relationship we have with Jesus was made manifest in this self giving on the cross. This act revealed what sort of God we worship, one who "gives his flesh for the life of the world." This is the God we not only celebrate, but truly encounter in the Eucharist.
"I AM the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever." John 6:51
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Friday in the Third Week of Easter
John 6:51-59 - World English Bible
52 The Jews therefore contended with one another, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
53 Jesus therefore said to them, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you don't have life in yourselves. 54 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father; so he who feeds on me, he will also live because of me. 58 This is the bread which came down out of heaven—not as our fathers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this bread will live forever.” 59 He said these things in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
The dialogue in John 6 shifted from the literal to the sacramental. The crowd focused on the cannibal meaning of 6:51: "I AM the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." Of course, they missed the point of the phrase "living bread" (how can consuming someone that continues to live be considered cannibalism?). Nonetheless, they contented with the physical meaning of 6:51b.
Jesus insisted they consume his Body and Blood to gain eternal life; indeed, these were the only food and drink that mattered in the scheme of things. He then shifted toward the sacramental meaning in 6:57: "As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father; so he who feeds on me, he will also live because of me." Notice the causal relation, as well as the temporal one. The Father lived forever, so the Son who depended upon him lived forever, so the disciple who ate of his flesh and drank his blood would live forever. And, the living Father sent the Son (entering time) to give life, so the disciple would be implicitly sent (when the time was right) to proclaim the living Christ in the Good News
Receiving Eucharist means more than eating "the bread of life." It means depending more upon the Risen Christ and sharing in his mission.
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Saturday in the Third Week of Easter
John 6:60-69 - World English Bible
60 Therefore many of his disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying! Who can listen to it?”
61 But Jesus knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? 62 Then what if you would see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life. 64 But there are some of you who don't believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who didn't believe, and who it was who would betray him. 65 He said, “For this cause have I said to you that no one can come to me, unless it is given to him by my Father.”
66 At this, many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67 Jesus said therefore to the twelve, “You don't also want to go away, do you?”
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
After the Eucharistic pronouncement in John 6, many of Jesus' disciples turned away. They were attracted by his signs and his teaching, but could not abide the command to "eat his flesh and drink his blood" (6:53-56). Consuming blood and cannibalism were abhorrent to Judaism, and these former followers could not go on, even as the Lord reminded them of his origin (6:62). Their earthly thinking ("flesh") could not comprehend revelation ("words of spirit and life"). No wonder, for faith is a gift from the Father (6:65).
What would happen to those who remained? Would they leave? Peter had it completely right:
“Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (6:68-69)
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