Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter
April 28, 2020
Today, in Mercy, Acts recounts the sad but inspiring story of Stephen’s martyrdom.
In our Gospel, we continue to pray with John’s Discourse on the Bread of Life.
The setting is Capernaum, on the other side of the lake from where the feeding of the 5000 occurred. Rumors are flying about how Jesus got from one side to the other without a boat. In other words, the air is buzzing with whispers of miracles.
Some bright light in the re-gathering crowd decides to become their representative and inquisitor of Jesus:
“What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?
What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert … ”
(how about something a long those lines, the questioner seems to imply????)
Where was this guy when the loaves and fishes were pouring out of a single basket? Where was he when Jesus appeared at the lake’s far side, already rested and waiting for the exhausted, arriving crowd?
But Jesus doesn’t take the inquisitor’s bait. He speaks as the Divine Teacher to help them understand that this is about a lot more than signs and miracles.
Jesus reminds them that any “miracle”, any “manna” should lead us to God, in whose Presence the need and demand for continuing miracles ceases.
Jesus encourages them to get beyond their limited perceptions of signs, manna, bread, and miracles. He explains that all the Power of God stands before them in him, the Son, the Bread sent “down from heaven, and giving life to the world.”
It’s a lot to take in. But they want to: “Sir, give us this bread always.”
It’s a lot for us to take in too, don’t you think. I know I wouldn’t mind a regular old miracle now and then… a shower of manna or a cure for Covid19!
But instead Jesus asks us to live within the miracle of God’s Presence in all things, in the bread of our ordinary lives which He transforms by love.
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.”
Stephen had this kind of radical faith. “Filled with the Holy Spirit”, he could – even in the throes of human contradiction – “see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
May our faith ever deepen that we too see God in the Bread of our ordinary daily lives. May that faith inspire us to act always with love, hope and mercy.
Music: I Am the Bread, the Bread of Life – Brian Hoare