Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection April 16, 2024


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R/. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/. I am the bread of life, says the Lord; whoever comes to me shall not hunger.

R/. Alleluia.

At that time: The people said to Jesus, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

1.      As long as we are earth-bound, our pursuits and successes will also be earth-bound. Unless we raise ourselves to higher realm and strive for higher things, we cannot raise the level of our life. One constant problem of Jesus with Jews was their refusal to see beyond the earthly factors like lineage, place, culture, food and drink, capacity and power, prestige and popularity etc.

2.      They were just caught up with the Law, with miracles and wonders, with the provision of manna and water in the desert by Moses, etc. Jesus tries to clarify and elevate their vision from law TO the person of Jesus, from the heartless observance of the law TO a hearty surrender to God’s will, from manna and water TO Jesus, the eternal food and living water, from awe-evoking wonders TO the significative signs of the kingdom and triggers to faith.

3.      But their stiff-neckedness, their uncircumcised heart, their jealousy, and their legalism in shallow spirituality, make them reject Jesus, and also reject Stephen, his ardent follower, subjecting him to a martyr’s death. But, Stephen, an elated spirit, does not hold the sin against them. Instead, he forgives them and pleads on their behalf, exactly like Jesus. Both in life and in death, he resembles Jesus.

4.      Often, the crucial problem is not so much the rightness or wrongness of the means or acts. Rather it is the wrong and perverted targets and ends. So it is better that we do a serious check-up about our purposes and objectives. As the purpose and the end is, so the direction will be. As the objective and the target are, so the process will be. As the aim and the goal is, so the means will be.

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