Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Spirit and the Flesh

The Spirit and the Flesh

“It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer.  The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.”  (John 6: 63)

The Bread of life which Jesus gives is a spiritual food which gives life to the soul.  This life is the real life.  The flesh which is fed by material bread has nothing to offer.  “Man does not live by bread alone.”  The word of God gives man life.  The Bread of life also gives him life.  To have real life to the full, life that endures, man needs the word of God and the Bread of life.  We thank God for these two great gifts in the Church.  

How can we develop a strong rapport with the word of God and the Bread of life?  The Spirit gives the life of grace.  He gives it through his word and the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.  

“It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer.  The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.”  (John 6: 63)
The connection to the Spirit is the word of God and the Bread of life.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Flesh that is given for the world

The Flesh that is given for the world

“I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.  Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.”  (John 6: 51)

Jesus Christ is the living bread.  The word of God is a living word.  The living bread gives eternal life.  The living word gives also eternal life.  The living bread is the flesh of Christ given for the life of the world.  The life that is spoken of here is the spiritual life, the life of the soul.  The soul is immortal.  

Lord Jesus, I believe that you give me your flesh in the Eucharist as my food.  You said it and your word is true.  I also believe that I have eternal life here and now because I believe your word.  Lord, I need a strong faith.  Give this to me, dear Jesus.  Then I can share this faith with others and fulfill your purpose for my life.  May I grow in you every time I come to your holy table.  Lord, I also pray that you multiply for me the number of times I come to the Eucharist.  Make me deeply grateful for this gift.  I ask for all this in your name Jesus.  Amen.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Bread of Life

Bread of Life

“I am the Bread of life.  He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst.”  (John 6: 35)

Jesus is the genuine Bread of life.  Under the appearance of bread and wine, he gives us himself in the Eucharist.

When I come to Jesus in Holy Communion, what do I seek?  I seek what is promised and I am absolutely sure that I will receive it.  Jesus promises me two things explicitly in John 6: 35.   If I eat him, the Bread of life, then I will never be hungry and I will not know thirst.  O Holy Spirit, what does this mean?  It is said that Scripture is the best commentary of Scripture.  “Man does not live on bread alone, there is life for him in every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  In another place, Jesus said, “Do not worry about what to eat and what to drink.”  We observe that the world is engrossed in food.  They worry about it in the morning, the afternoon, the evening and at all times.  Jesus calls this attitude pagan.  

What is the cure for this disordered attachment to food?  The cure is the Bread of life.  When we consume the Bread of life, little by little, it frees us from the disordered attitude towards food and drink.  It replaces it with the desire for food that lasts forever.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Signs of Grace

Signs of Grace

“So they said, ‘What sign will you give to show us that we should believe in you? What work will you do? Our fathers had manna to eat in the desert; as scripture says: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” (John 6: 30)

Suppose I ask Jesus today: ‘What sign will you give to show me that I should believe in you? What work will you do?’ What answer should I expect?

In 1996, I wrote the following to this question: “The greatest sign is the presence of the Holy Spirit in me. I know that the peace and tranquility that I enjoy does not have its source in me. The increasing meaning of the word of God in my life is another sign. The Church, the community of people who believe in Jesus is a living sign. The miracles in my life convince me of God’s constant intervention. Answers to my prayers are not just accidents or coincidences. They are signs of favor of God.” Today, 2006, tens years later, I will add the gift of the Eucharist and the gift of the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

My faith in Jesus is growing. I thank him for the wonderful gift of perseverance. It is not possible to persevere for ten years in following a shadow. Jesus Christ has become a solid reality in my life.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"This is working for God"

“This is working for God.”

“Then they said to him, ‘What must we do if we are to do the works that God wants?’  Jesus gave them this answer, ‘This is working for God:  ‘you must believe in the one he had sent.”  (John 6: 28 – 29)

What must we do today if we are to do the works that God wants?  The inspired answer is:  Believe in Jesus.  But what does believing in Jesus mean?

Believe that Jesus is well and alive.
Believe that he speaks to us in the Scriptures.
Believe that he is the Lord of history.
Believe that he is in full control of our life.
Believe that he is our savior and redeemer.
Believe that he is our light and salvation.
Believe that he is all that we need and want.
Believe that he wants us to use our time, talent and treasure to serve him.
Believe that he is training us for this service.
Believe that Jesus is our king and boss.
Believe in all his promises.

If we believe all the above, it will have impact in the way we think, speak and act today.  For example, we will not be afraid of anything because we know that Jesus is in charge.  We will be patient in everything because we trust his wisdom and power.

The key to relationship with God is faith.  Faith establishes a supernatural outlook.  Out of faith flows everything.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Food that endures

The Food that endures

“Do not work for food that cannot last, but work for food that endures to eternal life, the kind of food the Son of Man is offering you, for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal.”  (John 6:27)

As I read this, a number of scriptures on food occur to me:  
“Man does not live on bread alone.”
“Do not worry about what to eat.”
Paul wrote about over-attachment to material food which is perishable.

About ten years ago, I worried about what to eat.  Pausing to reflect on that period of my life today, it is amazing to see what a wonderful deliverance the Lord gave me over food.    The root cause of my problem with food was errors and untruths about food.  Some of these errors are:  Food gives much pleasure.  Food is one of the most important things in life.  I cannot do without food.  The truth about food is exposed by the word of God.  Material food is transient and perishable.  The pleasure is momentary.  

In John 6: 27, Jesus Christ is saying that the most important food is himself.  This is the “food that endures to eternal life.”  Jesus fulfils the promise to offer us himself as food in the Eucharist.  On the Eucharist and food, the Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say:  “The miracles of the multiplication of the loaves, when the Lord says the blessing, breaks and distributes the loaves through his disciples to feed the multitude, prefigure the superabundance of this unique bread of his Eucharist.  The sign of water turned into wine at Cana already announces the Hour of Jesus’ glorification.  It makes manifest the fulfillment of the wedding feast in the Father’s kingdom, where the faithful will drink the new wine that has become the Blood of Christ.”  (CCC #1335)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Do not be afraid!

Do not be afraid

“They had rowed three or four miles when they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming towards the boat.  This frightened them, but he said, ‘It is I.  Do not be afraid.”  (John 6: 19 – 20)

Jesus is in every event in my life.  He is saying to me here:  ‘Do not be afraid.  I am present.’  How can I make this truth serve me everyday?  In the midst of the hot events of my life, how can I call to mind the sure presence of Jesus?  One way is to cultivate the presence of Jesus through the Jesus prayer.  Jesus!

Lord Jesus, I believe you are present in my life through the Holy Spirit.  I thank you for the peace and tranquility that is your gift.  Sometimes I forget about your presence and become anxious and afraid.  I feel that I am in control of events and I feel so inadequate.  Lord teach me to live in your presence every moment of my life.  “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you, in God, whose word I praise, in God I put my trust and have no fear, what power has human strength over me?”  (Psalm 56: 3-4)

In order to live constantly in the presence of Jesus, I will immerse myself in the words of Jesus and say the Jesus prayer.

“It is I.  Do not be afraid.”