Prayers today: Let us sing to the Lord, he has covered himself in glory! The Lord is my strength, and I praise him: he is the Saviour of my life, alleluia. (Ex 15. 1~2)
Father, in this holy season we come to know the full depth of your love. You have freed us from the darkness of error and sin. Help us to cling to your truths with fidelity. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who liveth and reigneth, world without end. Amen. Alleluia.
St. Adalbert of Prague (956-97)
Opposition to the Good News of Jesus did not discourage Adalbert, who is now remembered with great honour in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Germany. Born to a noble family in Bohemia, he received part of his education from St. Adalbert of Magdeburg. At the age of 27 he was chosen as bishop of Prague. Those who resisted his program of clerical reform forced him into exile eight years later. In time, the people of Prague requested his return as their bishop. Within a short time, however, he was exiled again after excommunicating those who violated the right of sanctuary by dragging a woman accused of adultery from a church and murdering her. After a short ministry in Hungary, he went to preach the Good News to people living near the Baltic Sea. He and two companions were martyred by pagan priests in that region. Adalbert's body was immediately ransomed and buried in Gniezno cathedral (Poland). In the mid-11th century his relics were moved to St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague.
The Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John (6.44~51)
Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise Him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from Him comes to Me. No one has seen the Father except the One who is from God; only He has seen the Father. I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever. This bread is My Flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
(Homily by Fr. E.J. Tyler)
Our Lord had said prior to our passage today that the one who comes to him will never hunger, and the one who believes in him will never thirst. He has come from heaven as the One sent by the Father in order to give everlasting life to all who believe in him (John 6: 35-40). He is the One to whom they ought come in order to have life. They object to his exalted claims — they know him and they knew his parents. How can he say that he has come down from heaven? In his answer our Lord warns that they will not be able to come to him — no one will have the power to do so (oudeis dunatai elthein) — unless the Father should draw him. That is to say, a special grace is required to be able to come to Jesus and believe in him. The implication is that their murmuring at our Lord’s teaching is a sign that they are not sufficiently in a state of divine grace. We remember how the Angel Gabriel when coming into the presence of the Virgin Mary addressed her as being “full of grace.” The Lord was with her — meaning that the Father was with her. Now, what was the upshot of her union with God? It showed itself in her faith. Once she understood what was being asked of her, her reply was immediate: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your word.” She was full of grace; the Lord was with her, and her response was one of obedient faith. She may be looked to as the pattern of what our Lord speaks of in our passage today: “Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.” If we are looking to God; if we are listening to him with an obedient faith; if we are subject to the action and grace of God, we shall come to Jesus. A prior disposition of heart, an existing relationship with God, is therefore required if a person is to come to Jesus and receive from him the life eternal which is his gift. The niggardly and grumbling response to our Lord’s teaching about himself is a sign that they are not listening to the Father in their lives. Their negative response to the word of Jesus was a sign that they lacked true religion.
It soon becomes more evident that belief requires a grace and a disposition beyond the natural, because the revelation which now begins to be given is astonishing and absolutely unprecedented. Our Lord has spoken of himself as having been sent by the Father and as having come down from heaven. That he gave the impression of meaning this literally is shown by their response that this could not be, because they knew where he came from and also who his parents were. He compares himself with the manna that God had sent to give them food and life while in the desert. So our Lord repeats what he has said: “I am the bread of life.” Moreover, while their fathers had the manna to eat in the desert, they all died. The bread from heaven that is our Lord himself will bring life everlasting. “Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever.” Whatever of the manna in the desert, this is magnificent bread, the bread of life indeed, an extraordinary gift from God. But there is more, for to refer to himself as “the bread of life” with an evocation of the memory of the manna in the desert is to use a slightly vague expression. Christ’s being “the bread of life” could have meant his teaching; it could have meant his never-to-be-forgotten example; or it could have meant his life-giving friendship. But no — it was all of these things of course, but over and above them all it meant something far more striking and, indeed, startling. The “bread” which had come down from heaven and which was the person of Jesus himself was his very flesh. “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:44-51). So while their forefathers ate the manna in the desert and yet eventually died, from now on eternal life will be offered with the food that is Christ. That food is his flesh.
Nothing like this had ever been said by any prophet before him. It was utterly new — but of course with distant types of it and pointers to it in the religion, beliefs, and ritual of the Old Testament. No other prophet had claimed to be the bread from heaven that would give eternal life to the world, and that this bread would be his own flesh. Our Lord’s words must have been a sensation, and must have caused a tremendous stir. It was the mystery of mysteries connected with his person. In all of his mounting witness to his own person and teaching, this act of witness is perhaps the most signal. The true bread of heaven would be the flesh of Jesus of Nazareth. What on earth did he mean? His uncompromising explanation would follow.
Don't have a "small town" outlook. Enlarge your heart until it becomes universal~"catholic."
Don't fly like a barnyard hen when you can soar like an eagle.
(The Way, no. 7)