2nd Week of Easter, Friday, April 16
Acts 5:34-42 / John 6:1-15
From today and until next Saturday (8 days), the Eucharistic discourse of Jesus, as given in John 6 from the multiplication of bread. Jesus confronts us with the question: “Why are you looking for me?” Why are we looking for God, for Jesus? Is it merely for the things he gives us? We receive much from God, but do we look for Jesus himself, for what he means in our lives? Let us look to get closer to him and to become more like him. He asks us for faith in his person and mission.
Jesus feeds 5,000 people; He multiplied five loaves.
Almost a century ago, two men were on a train in France. The older man was reading the Bible story of the multiplication of the loaves. Noticing this, the younger man said, "Pardon me, sir, but do you really believe what you're reading?" "Yes," said the older man, "don't you believe it?""No," said the younger man. "I'm a scientist, and that story goes against all scientific laws." At this point the train slowed down. "This is my station," said the young man. "Nice talking to you, Mr "Pasteur," said the older man, "Louis Pasteur." He was one of the world's greatest scientists.
How do we handle faith questions when they seem to conflict with science? "A little science and faith is far; A lot of science and faith is near." Anonymous
Jerusalem had a University where religion in all its aspects was taught. The most outstanding professor there was Gamaliel. Even Paul had been his student certainly the most famous and he acknowledged having learnt a lot from him. Gamaliel had formed him, he said (Acts 22.3). He was a member of the Sanhedrin, a thoughtful, wise, discerning, pious man. He remembered the trial of Jesus with dismay and regret. He was anxious to avoid another miscarriage of justice, another failure of his court. He felt the rebuke of Peter that he had to obey God more, as if it had been addressed to himself. Perhaps not many members of the Sanhedrin shared his opinion. But he voiced it and with all the respect and influence he enjoyed, he was understood and accepted. God is the Lord of history. A movement can only succeed when God is with it. If God is with it, it will succeed, whatever man might attempt. The future belongs to those who, with joy and the conviction of their faith, bring to men the message of Jesus.
In its 2000
over years of existence, the Church had undergone many trials and tribulations.
When the Church was split into the Eastern and Western Church in 1054, people
thought it was the end of Christianity. During the 16th century when the Church
was corroding from corruption and immoral practices, and when the Protestant
Reformation came along, people thought it was the end of the Church. In this
present time, we hear of the terrible scandals in the Church, and we begin to
get shaken. We wonder what has become of the Church and what is the Church all
Yet, we cannot negate the fact that the Church is divine as well as human. As Gamaliel puts it in the 1st reading - if this is of human origin, it will break up of its own accord. We are crushed and confused by the scandals of the Church. Yet, we still have the mission of feeding those who still hold on to their belief in God and in the Church. God has given us the five loaves and two fish. We cannot just sit there and rot with it. With the grace of God, we must rise and embark on the mission of feeding and healing those whose faith was shaken and shattered by the scandals.
We only need to entrust ourselves into the hands of God who is merciful and compassionate.
A sign worked by Jesus and told much in detail by all the evangelists is the multiplication of the bread. In all the Gospels, it is a sign of Jesus’ sharing himself, and even more so, a figure of Jesus’ continuing self-gift in the Eucharist. What about the disciple? Let us not forget that the Eucharist is also the sign and the prefiguration, the token of Jesus’ total self-giving on the cross.
Lord, our God, your Son, Jesus, fed those who followed him in the desert and they received as much as they wanted. May we know and be convinced that he can fill our own emptiness not just with gifts that fill our need of the moment, but with himself, and may we accept him eagerly, for he is our Lord forever. Amen