The Gospel according to John (6:37-40)
Jesus said to the crowds: “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from Heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. 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.”
Reflection: I wonder sometimes if people think, during mass, if we deacons are paying attention. We stand motionless by or behind the presider looking like statues. Like anyone else, our minds tend to wander. However, we have a front row seat to the source and summit of our faith. So every time we serve we have an opportunity to listen, learn, and be transformed.
There is one line in the fourth Eucharistic prayer I was reminded of when I read today’s gospel. It says, “and all who seek you with a sincere heart”. Every time I hear this I am comforted and encouraged thinking about the many who are not present. Friends, family, those who we know and don’t know who struggle trying to find meaning and purpose in their lives. This very specific part of the Eucharistic prayer identifies ALL of humanity who is actively or passively searching for Jesus.
Today’s passage is part of what is Identified in John’s gospel as the “Bread of Life Discourse”. It is one of the most controversial revelations of Jesus’ ministry. He tells his followers that unless they eat his flesh and drink his blood they will not have life within them. So, my concern, like many Catholics, is what will happen to all those who do not partake in the Holy Eucharist. Well, today’s reading assures us that Jesus will not reject anyone who comes to him. What does this mean practically, theologically?
Here is some advice. Don’t think about it too much. Remember Isaiah 55:9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts”. Let us be grateful for whatever the circumstances are that led us to where we are in our faith life and continue to pray for ALL of our brothers and sisters who may be far away from Jesus. Let us pray that ALL of us continue to seek God with a sincere heart and allow his grace to help us in his mission to not lose anyone he gave to his son, Jesus.
Action of the Day: Allow your prayer, especially at mass to help you make an extra effort to reach out to someone who is seeking God. Not with preaching or words but with action motivated and directed by love. We all need words of encouragement but more so the presence of God’s mercy and compassion in a warm hug, sincere smile, in a moment of tenderness.