Thursday, 19 April 2018

Friday, April 20, 2018 - When someone places a new idea in front of you, is your first reaction one of rejection?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts9:1-20; Jn 6:52-59

The first verse of today’s text, which contains the question that the “Jews” ask, is occasioned by the statement that Jesus makes in the previous verse. The agitation in their hearts is because Jesus has identified himself with the bread of life. Jesus replaces the manna that their ancestors ate.

Jesus addresses this protest in the verses that follow. The bread that is to be eaten is the flesh and blood of the Son of Man. Refusal to do this means death or non-life. Eating the flesh and drinking the blood results in life and resurrection on the last day. By not mentioning bread and wine and thus, not equating them with the flesh and blood of Jesus, John focuses on the corporeal and not only on the sacramental representations. He also wants to stress that Jesus gives his whole life to all who are willing to receive him. The flesh that Jesus gives is life giving and so is his blood. It is real food and drink that will end all hunger and thirst.

Eating of the flesh and blood of Jesus leads to a mutual indwelling. The one who eats and drinks abides in Jesus and Jesus abides in that person. This relationship is an extension of the relationship between Jesus and the Father. Just as Jesus lives the Father’s life, so all who eat and drink will live Jesus’ life. The penultimate verse concludes the Bread of Life Discourse and repeats a theme that has been prevalent throughout. The bread which Jesus gives has indeed come from heaven and will give life forever and give it permanently, unlike the manna which could offer only temporary life.

The reference to the synagogue in Capernaum is to highlight the difference between Jesus’ teaching and that of the Jewish teachers and the difference between the manna eaten by their forefathers and the Bread of Life that Jesus gives.

It is not always easy to accept ideas which challenge our old way of thinking. Often our first reaction is rejection of that idea. We refuse to think outside the box, and are content with stereotypes with which we are comfortable. We are comfortable with them because they do not threaten us or call on us to change. We prefer that our boats not be rocked. However, Jesus continues to rock the boat and challenge our ways of thinking and being. He continues to wake us from our stupor and keeps inviting us to see more and be more.

Friday, April 20, 2018 - Acts 9:1-20; Jn 6:52-59

Friday, April 20, 2018 - Acts 9:1-20; Jn 6:52-59

  1. To whose house was Ananias sent to meet Saul?

  2. Peter's

  3. For how many days was Saul without sight?

  4. Three

  5. Where did Jesus give the discourse on the Bread of Life?

  6. In the synagogue at Damascus
    In the synagogue at Capernaum
    In the synagogue at Jerusalem

  7. From which city was Saul?

  8. Tarsus

  9. When the light from heaven flashed around him what happened to Saul?

  10. He was frightened
    He fell to the ground
    He ran away

  11. What was the name of the disciple in Damascus?

  12. Barnabbas

  13. From whom did Saul seek letters to the synagogues at Damascus?

  14. The Chief Priest
    The High Priest
    The Pharisees

  15. What is the message of the readings text of today?

  16. When a new idea is placed in front of us we must be open to it
    We must not be content with stereotypes
    We must learn to think outside the box

  17. What was the name of the street to which Ananias was sent?

  18. Bond

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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Thursday, April 19, 2018 - How will you show that you have accepted the gift that God gives in Jesus?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts 8:26-40; Jn 6:41-51

The symbol of “bread” is misunderstood by the people. They respond with unbelief. They grumble at Jesus’ claim that he is the bread of life and has come down from heaven. They protest that they “know” where Jesus comes from, they are aware of his antecedents. Even as they make such a statement, they are unaware of its error. They “think” they know, but in reality do not know.

Jesus addresses the crowd and asks them to stop their grumbling and then repeats the promise made earlier of resurrection on the last day for the ones who will believe. To reiterate the point that he makes, Jesus appeals to scripture and specifically to the prophets. “And they shall all be taught by God” refers to the initiative that God takes. The emphasis is on God who does the teaching. This means that Jesus’ commission is divinely ordained and not from humans. If the ones who hear realize this, then they will come to Jesus and they will have learnt correctly. This means that, while God does take the initiative, humans are responsible for responding accurately.

Jesus shares a unique relationship with the Father and is the only one who has seen Him. Those who learn have to learn to see the Father in Jesus. They have to learn that it is in Jesus that they have eternal life and that he is indeed the Bread of Life.
By using the distancing “your ancestors”, Jesus makes a contrast between the manna that they ate and the bread of life that he gives. The manna their ancestors consumed could not result in saving them from death, but the bread that Jesus gives results in a person living forever. This is because the bread that Jesus gives is living bread, a life giving bread. The bread that he gives for the life of the world is his flesh. This can mean, on one hand, the incarnation, where the Word became flesh, but on the other, can refer to his death on the cross, when he will give his life for the life of the world.

The purpose of Jesus’ coming into the world was to reveal the Father as God who wanted to save all people. This results in God taking the initiative in the tangible way of sending his son to become flesh for all. Even as God takes the initiative, he leaves humans free to respond to his act of love. Humans always have a choice when it comes to the gifts that God gives. They can accept them or reject them. Acceptance means life, rejection means death. There is no middle way.

Thursday, April 19, 2018 - Acts 8:26-40; Jn 6:41-51

Thursday, April 19, 2018 - Acts 8:26-40; Jn 6:41-51

  1. What was the court official whom Philip encountered in charge of?

  2. The soldiers of the queen
    The entire treasury of the queen
    The court of the queen

  3. What did the ancestors of the Jews eat in the desert?

  4. Barley loaves
    Bread from heaven

  5. Whom did Philip encounter in Jerusalem?

  6. The Queen of Ethiopia
    An Ethiopian Eunuch
    An official of the Church

  7. In which prophet do we find the phrase “And they shall all be taught by God.”

  8. Amos

  9. From which prophet was the person reading when Philip met him?

  10. Ezekile

  11. Whose son did the Jews say Jesus was?

  12. Joseph's
    They did not know

  13. Why did the Jews complain against Jesus?

  14. Because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’
    Because he wanted to convert them
    Because he did not give them any bread

  15. Where did Philip find himself after baptising the Eunuch?

  16. In Jerusalem
    At Azotus
    In Galilee

  17. What is the message of the readings of today?

  18. We are witness to Christ by what we say and do
    Jesus is indeed the bread of life
    Jesus alone can satisfy all hunger and thirst

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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - What is preventing you from receiving the gifts that Jesus gives?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts8:1-8; Jn 6:35-40

Today’s text begins with the last verse that was read yesterday in order to place what follows in context. Jesus has stated that he is the Bread of Life and he invites all who are willing to come to him to be fully satisfied. The words “seeing’ and “believing”, which appear at 6:36 and again at 6:40 form an inclusion. The crowd has seen and yet has not perceived. They have not seen rightly and thus, cannot come to faith. This lack of proper vision is surprising when one realizes that Jesus’ primary purpose is not to hide but to reveal. He will welcome all who come to him. They will not be driven away. The purpose of his coming down from heaven is for the sake of revelation. This is the Father’s will and Jesus will do only what the Father commissions him to do. The Father’s will is inclusive and no one is to be excluded unless they want to exclude themselves. If one sees rightly and thus believes, what is gained is eternal life and resurrection on the last day. This promise combines both the present and the future.

These verses bring out powerfully the balance between divine initiative and human response. God takes the first step and remains open to anyone who is willing to come and receive the gifts that he wants to pour out. However, there will not be any coercion or pressure on the part of God. Those who come to receive from him must come freely and without reservation. The gift is ever available and free.  It is not for a select few but for all.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - Acts 8:1-8; Jn 6:35-40

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - Acts 8:1-8; Jn 6:35-40

  1. Who was ravaging the Church be entering houses of believers?

  2. The Jews
    The Chief priests

  3. In which city did Philip preach?

  4. Galilee

  5. Who buried Stephen?

  6. His mother
    Devout men
    His sister

  7. Which apostle went down to the city to proclaim the Messiah?

  8. Peter

  9. Whose will has Jesus come to do?

  10. His own
    The will of those who are important
    His father's will

  11. What was God's will for Jesus?

  12. That no one should be lost
    That only a select few should be saved
    The he must die

  13. Besides Jerusalem where else did the persecution begin?

  14. Judea and Galilee
    Judea and Samaria
    Judea and Capernaum

  15. Besides those with unclean spirits who were those whom Philip cured?

  16. Paralysed and lame
    Paralysed and blind
    Paralysed and dumb

  17. Where did Saul put believers after dragging them from their homes?

  18. In a hotel
    In prison
    He took them to his home

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. The fact that Christianity continues besides persecution must give us hope
    Jesus continues to lead his Church and we must listen to his voice
    The will of God is that all peoples be saved

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Monday, 16 April 2018

Audio Reflections of Tuesday, April 17, 2018

To hear the Audio Reflections of Tuesday, April 17, 2018 click HERE

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - Will you dare to become bread for at least one person today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts7:51-8:1; Jn 6:30-35

The invitation that Jesus issues to the crowd, to believe in him who was sent by God, results in the crowd asking for a sign. This demand is a clear indication that they have not grasped the meaning of Jesus’ words. They have been fed at the miraculous feeding but were not able to see it for the sign that it was meant to be. The crowd goes further in this demand by looking back at what happened in the desert during the Exodus and how their ancestors were fed. This seems strange, and even absurd, because they have been fed even more abundantly than their ancestors. This also points to how ignorant and even closed the crowd is to the revelation that Jesus continues to make.

Jesus does not remind them that he had already given them bread, but first corrects their misunderstanding. It was not Moses who gave their ancestors bread but his Father. This bread is not merely bread that was given in the past but it continues to be given in the present. It, and not the manna, is the true bread from heaven. It is true bread because it gives life to all who eat it.

Like Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman before them, the crowd does not fully understand what Jesus is really offering and so, make a request for this bread. They are convinced that this bread is better than the bread their ancestors ate, but do not understand how or why. Jesus is available to them and yet, they cannot see. He gives the bread once for all and, in doing so, gives the bread always. This is why Jesus can assert that He is the bread of life. This is the first time in the Gospel of John that the “I am’ saying is followed by a predicate nominative “the bread of life”. John’s Gospel often uses this distinctive way of revealing who Jesus is. The symbols that are used by Jesus in these sayings come from human and Near Eastern religious experience. The use of these common, everyday symbols results in conveying to all who will hear that Jesus can satisfy both the base and higher needs of people everywhere. These symbols indicate that the mystery of Jesus cannot be captured by any one symbol and that Jesus cannot be put into a well defined category.

The saying also contains an invitation to come to him and be sated. Though, on the one hand, the invitation refers to a physical eating and drinking and so satisfying human hunger and thirst, on a deeper level, the invitation is to listen to Jesus’ teaching and see in him the revelation of God and so, the fulfillment of all human needs.

Bread is the staple of many people all over the world and is used to represent the basic needs of people. By use of this symbol, Jesus reveals that his mission is to be available to all and for all. He does not belong exclusively to any one group and no group can ever capture him fully. He is available to all who are open to the revelation that he continues to make. The primary form that this revelation will always take is the form of love.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - Acts7:51-8:1; Jn 6:30-35

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - Acts7:51-8:1; Jn 6:30-35

  1. Where did persecution begin after the death of Stephen?

  2. Jerusalem

  3. Whom did Stephen ask to receive his spirit?

  4. God
    The Holy Spirit

  5. What did the people ask of Jesus?

  6. A sign or work
    More bread
    Manna from heaven

  7. On which side of God did Stephen see the Son of Man standing?

  8. Left side
    Right side

  9. Who approved of the stoning of Stephen?

  10. Saul
    The apostles

  11. When his opponents were called a stiff necked people besides other things what did they do?

  12. They became enraged and ground their teeth
    They got frightened
    They were happy

  13. How did his opponents kill Stephen?

  14. They crucified him
    They stoned him
    They drowned him in the sea

  15. Who called his opponents a stiff necked people?

  16. Peter

  17. What is the message of the readings of today?

  18. Jesus is the bread of life
    Like Stephen we also must learn to forgive
    Truth will ultimately prevail

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Sunday, 15 April 2018

Audio Reflections of Monday, April 16, 2018

To hear the Audio Reflections of Monday, April 16, 2018 click HERE