Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection April 18, 2024


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R/. Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/. . I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever.

R/. Alleluia.

At that time: Jesus said to the crowds, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 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. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

1.      “They will all be taught by God”, thus Jesus refers to the Prophets. To the extent we are open to being taught by God, to that extent, we will grow in our faith and become strong in our mission. This is what happens in the lives of the apostles, especially in the life of Philip who is the central figure in the first reading of the Acts of the Apostles.

2.      Philip remains open to the guidance of the Spirit. He follows the direction of the Spirit. Accordingly, he goes from Jerusalem to Gaza. He meets an Ethiopian, a eunuch, and evangelises him, baptizes him, and leads him to faith. Thereafter he continues his missionary journey.

3.      Those who believe in Jesus will have eternal life. They will not be crushed by the powers of death. Those who ate the manna in the desert died. But those who receive Jesus, the bread of life will never taste death.

4.      But how can we come to the Lord, experience him, believe him and live forever? The only way is to be humble and docile to be drawn by God and to be taught by Him. Let each one pose a personal question to himself, the same question as to the Ethiopian, “What prevents me from being baptized?”

5.      This question has two aspects: on one hand, this reveals the deep desire to be baptized. On the other hand, it also invites us to become aware of all the possible obstacles to baptism. This is no longer the external ritual of baptism by water. Rather, it is the incorporation into Christ and anointing by the Spirit.

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