Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
Father Daniel Ray, LC
Jesus said to the crowds: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. It is written in the prophets: They shall all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. 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.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here and now as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.
Petition: Lord Jesus, help me value more the gift of yourself in the Eucharist.
- A Gift from the Loving Father: The Father is the one who sent him and who will draw souls to him. “No one can come to me unless the Father draw him.” So, those individuals who heard Christ’s words and were drawn to him that day were doing so because of a gift of faith from the Father. If we today have faith in Christ, it also is a gift from the Father, who wants to draw us to his Son. If we have doubts or weakness in faith, we should ask the Father to draw us nearer to his Son and to help us believe with our whole heart and mind.
- The Word Was Made Flesh: Christ’s birth took place in the town of Bethlehem, which in Hebrew (bêth-lehem), means “house of bread.” He was also laid in a manger, where food for animals would normally be placed. Before becoming bread, which would be our food, Christ first became man. Merely giving us some specially blessed bread would not be nearly as significant as giving himself. That is how God always loves: by giving himself completely and without reserve.
- His Flesh Was Made Bread: The Gospel accounts of Christ multiplying the loaves report he did so out of compassion for the crowd: “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way” (Matthew 15:32). This same compassion moves him to give himself as our bread in the Eucharist. He does not want us to die for lack of spiritual nourishment. Christ—in the greatest gesture of humility—became man like us, the same in every way except sin. But in an even greater gesture of humility, he descended further still to become our spiritual food.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, how can I not trust in you? You have already become human just like me. Then you descend to an even humbler state of service to become food for my soul. Help me to receive you in the Eucharist with gratitude, fully aware of your loving presence.
Resolution: I will start preparing my heart today to attend Mass this Sunday and receive Christ lovingly in Communion, if possible.