Jesus rebukes sign-seekers and calls men to to believe in Him. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Religion so he can evangelize others by his reverence in the Mass and by growing in the Virtue of Hope so he can rely on the indwelling Spirit in the battle against sin.
3rd Week of Easter – Monday – Jn 6:22-29
In John Chapter 6, Jesus mysteriously reveals the astounding truth of the Eucharist, the Bread of Life. After preparing the Apostles by the miraculous Feeding of the 5000 and the further demonstration of His Divinity by walking on water, Jesus now begins The Sermon on The Bread of Life (Jn 6:30-59), the revelation that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus.
The day after The Feeding of the 5000, the multitudes are perplexed as they realize the Apostles sailed across the Sea of Galilee without Jesus, so they too sail to Capernaum to find Him. Finding Jesus on the other side and not knowing that He miraculously walked on water, the people ask Jesus how He got there. Jesus knows the primary reason the people have followed Him is because they are physically hungry. Jesus cuts to the quick, rebuking their misplaced curiosity, focus on worldly food, and failure to recognize His miraculous signs.
While certainly understanding the need for bodily nourishment, Jesus turns the people’s attention to the essential need to make the pilgrimage towards eternal life their top priority. He confirms the work (“labor”) of faith is to obtain supernatural food (the Eucharist) to prepare for eternal life. Jesus, the Son of Man, who is designated by the Father for His mission by a binding seal (His Baptism), will freely give the people this eternal food. Consistent with the Jewish belief that one must do the voluminous pious works described in the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, to obtain salvation, the people ask Jesus to narrow things down, perhaps realizing that keeping the 613 commandments of the Old Testament was impossible. Jesus mysteriously previews the New Covenant, which He will fully reveal at the Last Supper (Mt 26:28): to prepare to receive eternal life, men must first believe Jesus is the Son of God the Father.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be awed by how Jesus uses Divine Knowledge to perform Spiritual Works of Mercy, including the Instruction of the Ignorant and the Admonishment of Sinners: He knows the people’s true motivation is to receive more physical food, not to better understand spiritual issues (signs); He redirects the people from the material to the spiritual, revealing that He is the Son of Man who is legally endowed by an indelible seal and sent by God the Father; He confirms that those who do God’s Will must believe in Jesus.
Evangelize by being reverent during the Mass
Realize: Jesus rebukes men who fail to recognize His “signs”; a “sign” is a physical act or thing that mysteriously points the faithful to the greater spiritual reality of Jesus.
Believe: Reflect upon the holy Gestures made during The Mass (CCC 1146, 1189, 1387).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Priest, help me grow in the Virtue of Religion (a part of Justice) so my holy gestures during Mass (silent prayer, holding my hands in prayer, kneeling, my reverent gaze at the Tabernacle, etc.) are “signs” that help my family and others be awed by the Eucharist.
Rely on the indwelling Spirit in the battle against sin
Realize: No matter the number, depth or duration of a Catholic man’s mortal sins, the Holy Spirit patiently remains in his soul, drawing him back to Jesus.
Believe: Reflect upon the Indelible Seal given in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation (CCC 698, 1296).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me grow in the Virtue of Hope, so, despite repeated falls into sin, I reject despair and remain confident the indwelling Spirit will help me return to my pilgrimage of faith.