READINGS for 2009-04-28
“I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to Me will never hunger and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” – John 6:35
I received my first Communion by mistake. I went with an aunt to church and, during Communion, she brought me along. When the lay minister asked about me, she said, “He’s OK,” indicating that I had already been initiated into the sacrament. So I received Communion for the first time. Shame on us.
How unlike my real First Communion. After Catechism classes to prepare us, we had our first Confession. There I felt the peace of God’s grace and mercy, and when I finally received Jesus in Communion, I was thrilled. Nowadays, many Catholics no longer appreciate the importance of religious preparation before receiving Communion. John 6:27 says it so beautifully: “Do not work for the food that perishes but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” Reflecting on that, I was convicted to renew my childlike zeal in availing of Confession regularly and practicing the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23.
These are the real “works” that I must do in order to be in the state of grace. Only then would I again be thrilled when I queue up for Communion.Obet Cabrillas
Am I spiritually fit for my next Communion? Do I need a tuneup or an overhaul?
Lord, You are the Bread of Life, and You are the food that I want to work for.
Stephen does not mince his words when confronting his interlocutors. He challenges them to look at their blindness and deafness to the truth. It is not that God is hiding anything from them but that they are being vincibly ignorant of the truth through their own choices. Let us pray that we would never be like this.
Acts 7:51-8: 1a
51 Stephen said to the people, the elders, and the scribes: “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always oppose the holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors. 52 Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become. 53 You received the law as transmitted by angels, but you did not observe it.” 54 When they heard this, they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him together. 58 They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them”; and when he said this, he fell asleep. 8: 1 Now Saul was consenting to his execution.
P S A L M
Psalm 31:3cd-4. 6 and 7b and 8a. 17 and 21ab
R: Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
2  Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety. 3  You are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me. (R) 5  Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God. 6  My trust is in the LORD. 7  I will rejoice and be glad of your mercy. (R) 16  Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your kindness. 20  You hide them in the shelter of your presence from the plottings of men. (R)
G O S P E L
Jesus makes a most striking comparison between the effectiveness of the manna offered under Moses with the Bread of Life offered under the New Covenant in and through Himself. Those listening may well be excused for failing to understand at that time but we have no excuse, especially not when we consider the 2000 years of reflection on the nature of the Eucharist that have passed since Jesus spoke these words.
John 6: 30-35
30 The crowd said to Jesus: “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? 31 Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” 32 So Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 So they said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
think:Let us pray that we would not be ignorant of the truth through our own choice.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Leviticus 6-7
the First christiAn mArtyr
A very dramatic event we read about in the first reading. Stephen had proclaimed what he believed in: Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Messiah. He had dared to accuse his listeners of murdering Jesus. No wonder this enraged the crowd. Imagine this shouting crowd, full of hatred, a mob capable of everything.
What a different picture when we look at Stephen. He remains calm and turns to God who grants him a vision of heaven to confirm what he had preached was the truth. Isn’t this amazing? I have heard many complain that they cannot pray because the world around them is so noisy. I think nowhere could there be a noise and distraction worse than when the mob pushed Stephen outside the city to stone him. And yet — he prayed, he communicated with God. He is like a calm island in an ocean whipped up by a fierce storm. It is possible to get in contact and remain in contact with God even in a world gone crazy. It all depends how close we have come to God in daily life, how we have attuned ourselves to God and how we have trained ourselves to “switch off” the noise around us and be alone with our God.
Was Stephen afraid of the painful death he faced? It seems not. He remained calm and patterned his death after that of Jesus. He prayed for his executioners as Jesus did. He surrendered his spirit and life to the Lord, as Jesus did. Again, Stephen teaches us something difficult but important. All of us have to die one day. To die is not easy. Fear of death is part of our human existence. If we only learn from St. Stephen, as he learned from the Lord, how to pass from this world into the world of God, our passing through the door of death would be more gentle and easy. If we could pray for all those who have done us injustice, those who have hurt and betrayed us — ah, our death would become a beautiful moment. How easy it would be then to hand over one’s spirit and soul and life to the Creator at “whose right hand stands the Son of Man”! Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
Do I avoid thinking of my death? Why? Am I afraid of letting go or of facing God?
Lord, I realize that even my death needs preparation. Help me to learn from You and from St. Stephen and so transform that frightening moment into a moment of loving surrender to You.
St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr, pray for us.
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