Third Week of Easter

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Understanding Dispels Doubt

Third Sunday of Easter (Year A)

“But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive.” Luke 24:21–23

The day on which our Lord rose from the dead, some of the women who had accompanied Him went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body and found the tomb empty. An angel spoke to them of Jesus’ Resurrection and then these women went to tell the disciples what they saw. The reaction of the disciples is recorded this way: “but their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them.”

Later that day, two of those doubting disciples were traveling on foot to the town of Emmaus. As they traveled, they were “conversing and debating” about what had happened to Jesus and also about what these women reported to them. It is clear from their words that they were quite confused and discouraged about what was happening. They encountered our Lord in His public ministry. They had listened to His powerful teachings. They witnessed His miracles. They had hoped that He was the Messiah. But then they saw Him arrested, humiliated, beaten, crucified and killed. Jesus’ death took a serious toll on them and made them question their faith in Him. And even after they heard that He had risen, they couldn’t bring themselves to believe. Thus, they traveled the road to Emmaus—discouraged, confused and doubting.

As these disciples walked along, our Lord appeared to them, but they did not recognize Him in His resurrected form. They expressed their confusion to Him and Jesus finally said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” After Jesus went on and explained the Scriptures to them, they were hungry for more. They asked this stranger to stay with them and He did. That evening, Jesus broke bread with them, and in that sacramental act, they recognized Him before He vanished from their eyes.

We must see ourselves in these disciples. There are many things in life that can lead us to discouragement. When we strive to follow God’s will but find that things have not turned out how we expected, there is a temptation to doubt. Why is that? What is the cause of doubt? More than anything else, doubts and discouragement come from our failure to understand the perfect plan of God for our lives.

If these disciples had understood, from the beginning, all that Jesus explained to them on the road to Emmaus, they would not have despaired. They would not have lost hope. So also with us, when we begin to lose hope in our lives, it is primarily because we have failed to understand the divine plan for our lives correctly. We have failed to see that God permits certain things for His glory. He permits certain hardships to deepen our faith and trust in Him. When we fail to see His permissive will in all things, we will become discouraged and confused.

Reflect, today, upon these two disciples. They had the incredible privilege of spending much time with our Lord during His public ministry, seeing His miracles and hearing His sermons. But when the Cross ensued, they doubted and despaired. Let these disciples witness to you and reveal to you any ways that you fall into similar temptations. Do you have perfect hope in God and His plan for your life? Or do you allow the various crosses you endure to confuse you and lead you to doubt? Allow our Lord to appear to you through prayer and reveal to you His perfect plan. Be open to the gift of understanding by trusting that the wisdom of God will dispel every temptation you have toward doubt, replacing it with trust and hope.

Lord of perfect wisdom, Your plan for my life is perfect and glorious beyond imagination. Too often, I fail to understand Your will and fall into confusion and doubt. Please open my mind to Your truth and help me to see everything from Your perspective so that I will always walk with hope and trust in You. Jesus, I trust in You.

Spiritual Knowledge From Within

Third Sunday of Easter (Year B)

“Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” Luke 24:38–39

Imagine if Jesus appeared to you. What if He showed you the wounds in His hands and feet and invited you to touch Him so as to believe. Would you believe? Most likely you would, to a certain extent. It would be the beginning of an experience that could be life-changing, just as it was for these disciples. Our Lord’s appearance to the disciples led to their transformation from men who were confused and doubtful to men who were filled with joy and zeal. Eventually, they would go forth preaching about Jesus as witnesses to His death and Resurrection with courage and with a desire that all who heard them would turn to Jesus as their Savior.

In the first reading of today’s Mass, Saint Peter is recorded as doing this very thing. After healing a crippled man at the gate of the Temple, a crowd gathered in amazement and Peter preached to them about Jesus. He concluded His sermon by saying, “God has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer. Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”

Today, we are entrusted with the same mission given to our Lord’s disciples, and we must preach with the same zeal, courage and conviction with which they preached. First, we must become as certain as they were about Jesus’ triumph over sin and death. We must turn from all sin and believe that the fullness of life is found only in Christ Jesus. But then we must commit ourselves to the proclamation of this faith with every fiber of our being.

Begin by considering how deeply you believe in Jesus as the Savior of the World. Though it might be tempting to think that having Jesus appear to you in person would help deepen your faith in Him, the truth is that the first disciples were not primarily convinced because of the physical appearances of Jesus. Rather, this gift came primarily through the spiritual touching of their minds. After appearing to the disciples physically, we read that Jesus “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” This was what convinced them more than anything—the spiritual gift of understanding. And that gift is offered to you today, just as it was to the first followers of Jesus.

Saint Thomas Aquinas explains that the spiritual gift of understanding is a gift that reveals to us the very essence of God. He explains that it is a much deeper form of knowledge than that which is obtained through our five senses. Thus, simply seeing something with our eyes, touching it or hearing it is not nearly as convincing as the knowledge obtained through the spiritual gift of understanding. The gift of understanding enables us to “read inwardly” and to penetrate the very essence of something. For that reason, the physical appearance of Jesus might have been the first step toward believing, but it wasn’t until these same disciples encountered our Lord within their souls, perceiving the very essence of His Resurrection inwardly, that they were forever changed. Only this form of knowledge could then convince them to go forth and proclaim the message of salvation.

Reflect, today, upon your own knowledge of Jesus and the transforming power of His Resurrection in your life. Has God spoken to you within the depths of your soul? Have you perceived this inward knowledge and had your mind opened? Listen attentively to our Lord—not just with your ears but primarily with your spirit. It is there, within you, that you, like the first disciples, will come to know and believe in the life, death and resurrection of Christ so that you can then go forth empowered to proclaim these truths to others.

My revealing Lord, You showed Yourself to Your disciples not only physically but spiritually, revealing Your very essence to them interiorly. Please bestow this gift upon me, dear Lord. May I come to know You and believe in You with all my heart. As I do, please use me as an instrument of Your mercy to others. Jesus, I trust in You.

One Hundred and Fifty-three Large Fish

Third Sunday of Easter (Year C)

When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. John 21:4–6

Recall the first time there was a miraculous catch of fish in the Gospels. In Luke 5:1–7, Jesus was preaching to the people on the shore from where He sat in Peter’s boat just a short distance away. After preaching, Jesus told Peter, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Peter did so and there was such a large catch of fish that the Apostles needed help to haul it in.

In today’s Gospel, some three years later after the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples from the shore and instructed them to cast their nets “over the right side of the boat.” They did so and caught 153 large fish. In commenting on these two passages, Saint Augustine teaches that the first miraculous catch was a sign that the Gospel would be preached to all people, which is indicated by Jesus simply saying “lower your nets.” But after the Resurrection, Jesus specifically tells the disciples to cast their nets “over the right side” to indicate that grace is now given to those who stand on His right side and are separated from the condemned who are on His left. Thus, this second miraculous catch symbolizes the end of the age when the good and the bad are judged.

Saint Augustine also notes that the 153 large fish, caught off the right side of the boat, are a symbolic representation of those who conform not only to the Ten Commandments but also receive the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit by grace. He explains that 10 + 7 = 17 and if you add all the numbers together between 1 and 17 you arrive at 153. Thus, these 153 fish represent everyone who receives His gift of grace and obtains salvation. The boat represents the Church, and the gift of salvation is offered by Christ through His Church.

One clear message we must take from Saint Augustine’s interpretation is that grace and mercy are offered to all, but not received by all. At the end of our lives and at the end of the world, judgment will take place. Those who responded to the offer of grace and mercy, repented of their sins and gave their lives to Christ will eternally share in the Resurrection. But those who refused to follow His Commandments and closed themselves to the transforming power of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit will be separated from eternal joys.

Facing the reality of hell is not pleasant, but it is a message that must not be ignored. It is a message that is real and, therefore, hell is a possibility for us all. Therefore, it is important to remind ourselves from time to time of this spiritual truth. Are you among those 153 large fish found on the right side of the boat? Do you allow the ministers of Christ within the Church, represented by the disciples in the boat, to draw you to Christ through preaching and the Sacraments? Though all of us might quickly answer “Yes” to that question, we should never fail to be attentive to the fact that salvation requires action on our part. It requires that we accept Christ Jesus by following His Commandments and live by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit as it is dispensed by the Church.

Reflect, today, upon the symbolism found in this Resurrection account. Consider the fact that the Gospel has, indeed, been shared with you. Have you listened to the Word of God as it is preached by the Church? Do you immerse yourself in the grace given through the Sacraments? Do you follow the Ten Commandments faithfully? Do you continually open yourself to the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit? Seek to be among that catch of fish caught on the “right side.” Never doubt that hell is real and possible. For that reason, never waver from your fidelity to Christ, so that you will remain firmly grounded in His grace and share one day in His Resurrection.

My resurrected Lord, You have offered Your grace and mercy to all, but not all have responded. I pray that I will always be among those who continually respond to Your invitation. I repent of my sin, dear Lord. Please help me to stay faithful to Your commands of love and to be daily immersed in Your transforming Spirit. Jesus, I trust in You.

Food for Eternity

Monday of the Third Week of Easter

“Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered them and said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” John 6:25–27

What do you work for in life? That which ultimately perishes? Or that which is eternal? This is an important question to sincerely answer. Too often we spend most of our lives putting most of our time and energy into those things that have little value for eternity.

The day before the above quoted conversation, Jesus had multiplied the loaves and fishes and fed five thousand households. The people were so impressed that the next day, when they were hungry again, they came looking for Jesus and found Him on the other side of the lake. Jesus, of course, immediately understands the situation. He realizes that the crowd of people who found Him were more interested in another meal than they were in the spiritual food that is eternal. So Jesus gently uses the opportunity to give them this short lesson about what is most important. The “food that endures for eternal life” is ultimately faith in Jesus.

Imagine if you were one of those people who witnessed, first hand, the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. What sort of an impact would that have had on you? Would it have drawn you into a deep faith in Jesus, the Son of God? Or would you have been more impressed with the free and miraculous food? What’s interesting is that Jesus feeds the five thousand when they are not expecting it and not desiring it. But when they do come expecting it and desiring it the next day, He refuses. Jesus refuses another miracle because He wants the people to look deeper to the eternal reality. 

In our own lives, living primarily for the deeper and eternal reality is often hard to do. It’s easy to keep our eyes on the superficial and less important aspects of life. How do I make more money? Or buy a new car? Or have a fancier meal? How can I better entertain myself? What new piece of clothing should I buy? And the list goes on. Of course none of these things are evil, but they are all passing and will not have an effect upon our eternal soul. And, in fact, if we give too much attention to the superficial and least important aspects of life, they will have the effect of distracting us from that which is most important.

Reflect, today, upon this challenge from Jesus. Do not work for that which perishes; work for that which is eternal. Look at your priorities in life. Where is your focus? What concerns you the most every day? Hopefully your greatest concern is to grow deeper in faith in the Son of God. Hopefully it is to live the charity that is eternal. If you honestly look at your life and the goals you have and see yourself overly concerned with the things of this world, then allow these words of our Lord to speak to you directly so that you are storing up riches for eternal life.

My most glorious Lord, You are the Food that is eternal. You are the Food for everlasting life. Give me the wisdom I need, dear Lord, to turn my eyes from the passing and least important things of this world and to turn, instead, to that which is eternal. May I keep my eyes upon You and be nourished by my faith in You. Jesus, I trust in You.

The Bread of Life

Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter

So they said to Jesus, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” John 6:34–35

Imagine if you were to never grow hungry or never thirst again. On a natural level, this would be an interesting reality. Of course, if you never had physical hunger or thirst, then you may never enjoy the delight of good food and drink. So why would anyone want to lose out on such delights?

Of course, Jesus was not speaking of natural food and drink, He was speaking of supernatural hunger and thirst. And He was not saying that the spiritual food and drink He came to give us would eliminate our ability to delight in spiritual fulfillment. On the contrary, Jesus was saying that the spiritual food and drink He was to provide would result in never-ending fulfillment and satisfaction.

Chapter 6 of John’s Gospel will continue to be read throughout this week, the Third Week of Easter. This chapter presents us with what is traditionally called the “Bread of Life Discourse.” It’s John’s deep, mystical and profound teaching on the Most Holy Eucharist.

First of all, it’s useful to look at this Gospel within its context. Recall that on the previous day, Jesus performed the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, and a crowd of people who had been fed by Him were now seeking more food. Jesus uses their desire for more food to begin to teach them about the Most Holy Eucharist, and He wants to do the same for you.

Put yourself into this scene. What is it that you hunger and thirst for the most? Perhaps you have plenty of physical food, but perhaps you don’t. If you do, what else do you crave? What do you desire? When you have identified your deepest desires right now, use these desires to allow our Lord to teach you about the Bread of Life. It might be useful to say to our Lord, “Here are my current desires in life…” And then, allow yourself to hear Jesus say to you, “I want to give you so much more. I am what you truly long for. If you come to Me, you will have all your desires fulfilled and more.” This is essentially the conversation Jesus had with this crowd throughout John Chapter 6.

Do you believe that the Most Holy Eucharist is capable of fulfilling you on the deepest level? Too often we approach that Sacrament in a lazy and distracted way. As a result, we often fail to truly receive our Lord on a level that provides this deepest delight and satisfaction.

Reflect, today and throughout this week, upon your approach to Holy Communion. The Eucharist is Christ Himself. It’s a gift that has the potential to not only sustain us in every way but also to draw us into the greatest Heavenly delights. Believe Jesus’ words in this holy chapter of John’s Gospel. For if you deepen your belief in all that Jesus has said, you will begin to realize that all you crave in life will begin to be fulfilled by this precious gift in ways beyond your imagination.

My Eucharistic Lord, You are the Bread of Life. You are all that I desire in life. Give me the grace of understanding, dear Lord, so that I can come to believe all that You have revealed about the Most Holy Eucharist. I do believe, my God. Help my unbelief. Jesus, I trust in You.

Holy Sight

Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter

“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.” John 6:40

Do you believe in Jesus? Unquestionably the answer is “Yes.” However, to believe in our Lord is something that must deepen with every passing day. Therefore, if you do have faith in Jesus, you can also admit that you do not have faith enough. In this Gospel passage in which the “Bread of Life Discourse” is continued, Jesus calls us to do two things. First, we must see Him. Second, we must believe. Let’s start with the first.

When Jesus first spoke these words to the crowd, they did see His physical presence. But many of them did not see beyond the surface. They saw His miracles, heard His teaching, but very few saw the deeper reality of Jesus as the Son of the Eternal Father and the Savior of the World.

If you are to believe in our Lord and all that He is, then you must first see Him. One of the best ways to foster this “holy sight” of our Lord is to gaze at Him in the Most Holy Eucharist. When you attend Mass or spend time in adoration and  look upon the Most Holy Eucharist, what do you see? Do you see the Eternal Son? Do you see His holy divinity? Do you see your God and the Lord of all?

As we stand or kneel before our Lord, present in the Most Holy Eucharist, it’s easy to become distracted. It’s easy to allow our minds to wander to the many other aspects of our daily lives and to fail to see the eternal Son of God as He is present to us.

Reflect, today, upon the way you look at our Lord. If you want to deepen your faith, your belief, then start with your sight. Start by considering how you look at Jesus, present in the Most Holy Eucharist. If you are blessed to be with Him this day at the Holy Mass or in adoration, examine the way to see Him. Gaze at Him. Make an intentional act of faith in His divine presence. Acknowledge His Godhead, His glory, His holiness and His sacred presence. If you can look beyond the surface and lift the veil that covers His glory, then this holy gift of sight will give way, also, to the gift of profound faith.

My ever-present Lord, I thank You profoundly for the way You come to me in the Most Holy Eucharist. I thank You for Your divine presence and glory. Help me to see beyond the veil of the appearance of bread and wine so that I can see more clearly Your divinity. As I see Your divine presence, dear Lord, help me to profess my belief in You with greater certitude and faith. Jesus, I trust in You.

The Flesh of Our Lord

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.” John 6:51

Jesus was starting to stir up the emotions of some within the crowd. They began to ridicule Him because He had said that He was the “bread that had come down from heaven.” Thus, many of those who had sought Jesus out in hopes of another miraculous free meal began to murmur among themselves and ridicule Him. As a result, Jesus began to speak even more clearly and shockingly. He then went even further and said that He is not only the “living bread that came down from heaven” but that those who want to “live forever” must also eat His “Flesh.”

How would you have reacted to such a statement if you were among those within the crowd? Consider the fact that you would have recently seen, with your own eyes, the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Therefore, you would have realized that Jesus was someone special, to say the least. But how would you have reacted to this statement of Jesus, “and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world,” if you had heard it spoken at that time? Most likely, your reaction would have been the same reaction that you have right now to the teaching of the Most Holy Eucharist.

Many who heard Jesus speak this way may have thought it was a bit of an unusual thing to say. Some would have reacted strongly, while others would have reacted with indifference. But some would have had an entirely different reaction. Some would have heard Jesus speak these new and shocking words, would have realized that they did not fully understand what He meant, but would have believed deeply on account of the gift of faith. Somehow they would have known, in the depths of their consciences, that they did indeed need to eat the Flesh of Him Who came down from Heaven since He was indeed the Bread of Life.

Believing in the Eucharist, in the fact that these tangible and visible gifts of the Sacred Host and the Precious Blood are, in fact, the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Eternal Son of God, can only happen through the interior and transforming gift of faith. How else can you believe such a teaching? How else could you believe that these words in today’s Gospel have come true? And that the reception of the Most Holy Eucharist is the pathway to eternal life? The gift of faith in the Most Holy Eucharist is the one and only way to understand, accept and deeply believe what our Lord has spoken in this Holy Gospel.

Reflect, today, upon Jesus speaking these most holy words for the first time: “…the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.” As you prayerfully reflect upon these words, ponder how deeply you believe them. How deep is your faith in the Most Holy Eucharist? The Eucharist is the fulfillment of this passage, and our divine Lord invites you to not only believe in His holy words but to allow this truth to transform you in ways beyond what you could ever imagine.

My Eucharistic Lord, You are truly the Bread of Life, and all those who eat Your Flesh and drink Your Blood will inherit eternal life. I do believe this, dear Lord. I believe that the Most Holy Eucharist is You, Your Soul and Divinity, given to me so that I can share in Your holy life. Give me the grace I need to deepen my faith in the Most Holy Eucharist so that I will be drawn more fully into the joys of Your Eternal Kingdom. Jesus, I trust in You.

A “Holy Fear”

Friday of the Third Week of Easter

“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my Flesh is true food, and my Blood is true drink.” John 6:53–55

On a philosophical level, it’s useful to consider various things that appear to be “competing forces.” Good appears to be the opposite of evil. Light the opposite of dark. Heat the opposite of cold. And life the opposite of death. But are they truly opposites in the sense of being competing forces? When considered carefully, it is clear that good and evil, light and dark, heat and cold, and life and death are not actually “competing forces;” rather, evil is simply the absence of good, darkness the absence of light, cold the absence of heat, and death the loss of life. And though this philosophical distinction may not seem that interesting to some, and confusing to others, it is a helpful truth to ponder in light of today’s Gospel.

Today’s Gospel tells us that failure to “eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood” results in death. Death is the loss of life, and the Eucharist is the source of life. Jesus says that if you fail to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood, “you do not have life within you.”

This bold teaching of Jesus should cause us to stop and examine our approach to the Most Holy Eucharist. Sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that going to Mass and receiving Communion is something we do as a “favor” to our Lord. But in truth, it’s God’s most profound favor to us, because the Eucharist is the gateway to eternal life. And without it, we have no life within us. Our spirits die because we lose the presence of God.

Looking at the negative effect of not receiving the Most Holy Eucharist can be very useful. Sometimes we need to consider the consequences of our actions as a way of motivating us to greater fidelity. For that reason, considering the fact that failure to eat the Flesh of the Son of God results in death should be very motivating. It should fill us with a holy fear of the loss of the life-giving presence of God within us. This “holy fear” is a true gift from God and is, in fact, one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Reflect, today, upon your interior attitude toward the Most Holy Eucharist. Do you see your participation in the Holy Mass more as a favor you offer to our Lord? Or do you see it as it is: the life-giving source of eternal life? Reflect upon how important this precious gift truly is and recommit yourself to a faithful and devout participation in this most holy Gift.

My Eucharistic Lord, Your Flesh and Blood are truly the source of eternal life for all who receive You in faith. I thank You, dear Lord, for this most precious Gift of the Most Holy Eucharist, and I pray that I will be filled with a deep hunger and thirst for You always. Jesus, I trust in You.

A “Hard” and Deep Mystery

Saturday of the Third Week of Easter

As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer walked with him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” John 6:66–67

Today’s Gospel concludes the beautiful and profound sermon on the Bread of Life (see John 6:22–71). When you read this sermon from beginning to end, it is noticeable that Jesus moves from more general statements about the Bread of Life that are easier to accept to more specific statements that are challenging. He concludes His teaching just prior to today’s Gospel by saying very directly, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” After Jesus said this, many who had been listening to Him left Him and no longer followed Him.

There are generally three common attitudes people have toward the Most Holy Eucharist. One attitude is that of profound faith. Another is that of indifference. And a third is what we find in today’s Gospel: disbelief. Those who walked away from Jesus in today’s Gospel did so because they said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” What a great statement and question to ponder.

It is true, in a certain way, that the teaching of Jesus on the Most Holy Eucharist is a hard saying. “Hard,” however, is not bad. It’s hard in the sense that belief in the Eucharist is only possible through a faith that comes from a deep interior revelation from God. In the case of those who walked away from Jesus, they heard His teaching, but their hearts were closed to the gift of faith. They remained stuck on a purely intellectual level, and, thus, the idea of eating the Flesh and Blood of the Son of God was more than they could comprehend. So who could accept such a statement? Only those who listen to our Lord as He speaks to them interiorly. It is only that interior conviction that comes from God that can be proof of the truthfulness of the Holy Eucharist.

Do you believe that when you consume that which appears to be only “bread and wine,” you are actually consuming Christ Himself? Do you understand this teaching of our Lord on the Bread of Life? It is a hard saying and a difficult teaching, which is why it must be taken very seriously. For those who do not flat out reject this teaching, there is also the temptation to be somewhat indifferent to the teaching. It can easily be misunderstood to be just symbolism in the way our Lord talks. But the symbolism is much more than just symbolism. It’s a profound, challenging, and life-changing teaching of how we share in the divine and eternal life our Lord wishes to bestow upon us.

Reflect, today, upon how deeply you believe this hard saying of Jesus. The fact that it is a “hard” saying should make you seriously examine your own faith or lack thereof. What Jesus teaches is life-changing. It’s life-giving. And when clearly understood, you will be challenged to either believe with your whole heart or turn away in disbelief. Allow yourself to believe in the Most Holy Eucharist with your whole heart and you will find that you are believing one of the most profound Mysteries of Faith.

My glorious Lord, Your teaching on the Most Holy Eucharist is beyond human comprehension. It is a mystery so deep that we will never fully understand this precious gift. Open my eyes, dear Lord, and speak to my mind so that I may listen to Your words and respond with the deepest faith. Jesus, I trust in You.

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