Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Third Sunday After Pentecost, Evangelism
Volume 8 No. 484 June 8, 2018
 
II. Lectionary Reflections: Bread of Life

Text: John 6:35-46 (NIV)
35 Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.
37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.
39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
40 For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day."

41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven."
42 They said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I came down from heaven'?"

43 "Stop grumbling among yourselves," Jesus answered.
44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
45 It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.
46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.

Commentary on John 6: 35-40
35. Going to Jesus means believing in Him, for it is through faith that we ap- proach our Lord. Jesus uses the metaphor of food and drink to show that He is the one who really meets all man's noblest aspirations: "How beautiful is our Catholic faith! It provides a solution for all our anxieties, calms our minds and fills our hearts with hope" (St. J. Escriva, "The Way", 582).

37-40. Jesus clearly reveals that He is the one sent by the Father. This is some- thing St. John the Baptist proclaimed earlier on (Jn 3:33-36), and Jesus Himself stated it in His dialogue with Nicodemus (Jn 3:17-21) and announced publicly to the Jews in Jerusalem (Jn 5:20-30). Since Jesus is the one sent by the Father, the bread of life come down from Heaven to give life to the world, everyone who believes in Him has eternal life, for it is God's will that everyone should be saved through Jesus Christ. These words of Jesus contain three mysteries: 1) that of faith in Jesus Christ, which means "going to Jesus", accepting His miracles (signs) and His words; 2) the mystery of the resurrection of believers, something which begins in this life through faith and becomes fully true in Heaven; 3) the mystery of predestination, the will of our Father in Heaven that all men be saved. These solemn words of our Lord fill the believer with hope.

St. Augustine, commenting on vv. 37 and 38, praises the humility of Jesus, the perfect model for the humility of the Christian: Jesus chose not to do His own will but that of the Father who sent Him: "Humbly am I come, to teach humility am I come, as the master of humility am I come; he who comes to Me is incorporated in Me; he who comes to Me, becomes humble; he who cleaves to Me will be humble, for he does not his will but God's" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 25, 15 and 16).

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

You Will Never Be Lost Where I Cannot Find You.
Gospel: John 6: 35-40

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day."

Introductory Prayer:

Lord, I believe that you are present here and now as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.

Petition:

Lord, help me to have a deeper confidence and trust in you.

1. An Empty Hole the Size of Christ:

"It's like I had a big hole in my heart, and I couldn't fill it with anything." So exclaimed someone who recently came back to the sacraments after being away for many years. She was hungering and thirsting for Christ, and, thankfully, Christ didn't permit anything else to fill the place in her heart where only he belonged. On re-encountering Christ - in his mercy in confession, in his nourishing grace in communion - she was able to experience the benefits promised by Christ himself: "Anyone who comes to me I will never drive away." Every one of us invariably finds holes in our hearts, small or not so small. Only Christ belongs there. To welcome Christ back in our hearts, we must seek out his mercy and nourishing grace.

2. Then Why Are You Afraid?

If what we need is Christ and what we truly long for is Christ, then what keeps us from going to him? Sometimes it is our pride, or spiritual laziness, or maybe superficiality in our spiritual life. But behind these reasons is often a fear that if we open ourselves to Christ, we will somehow lose out. Benedict XVI addressed this fear in his first homily as Pope: "Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and He gives you everything. When we give ourselves to Him, we receive a hundred-fold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ - and you will find true life. Amen" (Mass for the Inauguration of the Pontificate, April 24, 2005).

3. Can You Tell Me Where the Lost-and-Found Is?

These are words that Christ has never spoken - nor ever will. It is his Father's will that Christ lose none of those entrusted to him. Christ never fails in his mission. Rather, in today's reading he promises: "And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day." This is our guarantee that we will never be abandoned and left without his grace to support us. There will be no difficulty, obstacle, or temptation too great for him to help us overcome.

Conversation with Christ:

Lord Jesus, I trust in you. Despite the real struggles and obstacles in my path now, I know that you are leading me towards you. You are the only one who can fill the depths of my heart. Somehow, mysteriously, each of these trials is part of making that a reality.

Resolution:

When faced with any obstacle today - even if it is small - I will say a quick prayer entrusting the situation to Christ.

Source: Regnum Christi

Eat and Live Forever - A Reflection on John 6:35, 41-51

by Rick

There was one brief, shining moment in the Hebrew Bible where things were pretty good. We had safety, and security, we had the Presence of God walking among us.

We had a nice garden.

And then we blew it. We had only been given one "thou shalt not," and we couldn't manage the "not" part. So we ate of the tree.

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And, what happened when you ate of this tree? Your eyes were opened, and you became "like God," knowing good and evil.

But, you know, there was another tree in the Garden…The Tree of Life. And what happened when you ate of this tree? Well, we get the scoop on that when God talks of the consequences of eating from the Tree of Knowledge:

Then the Lord said, 'See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.'

So…obviously…we ate from the wrong tree. We were never told that we couldn't eat from the Tree of Life…but we ate from the tree that we were told not to.

We could have lived forever. In that garden. With God.

We were so close. It could have been great.

In John chapter 6, Jesus isn't talking about trees and fruit, but rather bread. But, he talks about this bread in a familiar way:

This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever.

Jesus is speaking of himself. He's speaking of the benefits of believing and abiding in him. Of consuming him, and making him a part of us, and us a part of him.

And…he's so very clearly identifying himself as the new creation. The new garden. The new tree. The new fruit.

God's dream in Genesis was that we would live forever with Him, and in Jesus that dream gets a fresh start.

In Eden it could have been great, but we messed it up. But, now, in Jesus it can be great again.

And, great forever.

Malankara World Journals with the Theme: I am The Bread of Life

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