Believe and Abide in Me

Friday of the Third Week of Easter
April 28, 2023

Today’s Readings:

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we have two powerful and life-changing readings.

The Conversion of St. Paul – Nicolas Bernard Lepicie

Paul’s conversion is high drama. And Jesus’ invitation to “consume” him is both pivotal and a bit confounding. Both accounts make clear that living our faith is not a walk in the park. It is a wholehearted, dynamic commitment to render the vital presence of Jesus in our lives.

We can probably find ourselves rather easily in Paul’s story, so let’s take on Jesus’ more complex challenge in our prayer today.

The setting is after the miracle of the loaves and fishes. The crowd presses Jesus for another miracle. They like miracles and they like to eat. Hey, I understand!

But Jesus realizes that they’re missing the point. The tsunami of bread and fish was just a sign not the essence of Jesus’ message. His message was, “Now you must BELIEVE!”

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood,
you do not have life within you.

John 6:52-53

So Jesus tells them that it was not enough to eat the miracle bread. He says that now they must consume him, make him their source of sustenance, live in such a way that they cannot live without him

Just as food feeds our emptiness and becomes one with us, so Jesus nourishes our spirit and unites with us. And this happens, not by physical consumption, but by our deep and transcendent believing in Jesus.

Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise them on the last day.
For my Flesh is true food,
and my Blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
remains in me and I in them.

John 6:53-54

Jesus’ words threw a powerful challenge to the hungry crowd as they do to us. We can’t just make ourselves believe. Faith is a gift, and sometimes the channels that allow it to pour into our hearts get a little clogged with worldly junk. How can we open those channels up a bit to release the power of faith in our lives?

Perhaps a prayer like this might help:

I exist because of You and within You.
I have nothing and am nothing without You.
You breathe Your life into every moment of my own.
May I see You, trust You, hear Your loving hints to me.
May I make room for You in my heart 
by my choices, prayer, and generosity.
May I abide in You as You so completely abide in me.

Poetry: If Only – Rainer Maria Rilke

If only there were stillness, full, complete.
If all the random and approximate
were muted, with neighbors’ laughter, for your sake,
and if the clamor that my senses make
did not confound the vigil I would keep —
Then in a thousandfold thought I could think
you out, even to your utmost brink,
and (while a smile endures) possess you, giving
you away, as though I were but giving thanks,
to all the living.

Music: Abide – Aaron Williams

8 thoughts on “Believe and Abide in Me

  1. Lucille Hillerman

    Happy 60th Jubilee! May God’s richest blessings be yours today and always, my friend!
    I also listened to you reading your two beautiful poems on the Sisters of Mercy email. You set the tone for my day. ❤️🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Krystal Peteler

    Dear Sister Renee,
    Thank you so much for your posts each day, that take me out of the “spinning world” and remind me how and why I am here.

    I especially enjoyed hearing you read your poems. “I Will Remember” reminded me of the Ignatian retreats I do each year, and the garden where Jesus and I meet to play and talk together.

    I see you are celebrating your Jubilee! Celebration and jubilation! May God continue to heap upon you the graces he has reserved for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ann Marie Wilson,RSM

    Happy Diamond Jubilee! May you enjoy many blessings.
    Thank you very much for your daily reflections, they are truly a blessing to me
    God bless,
    Ann Marie

    Liked by 1 person

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