Gospel Reflection – Saturday, April 20, 2024 – John 6:60-69 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Acts 9,31-42)

Reading of the Acts of the Apostles.

In those days, the Church lived in peace throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria. It was consolidated and progressed in the fear of the Lord and increased in number with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Peter went everywhere; and he also visited the faithful who lived in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had been lying on a bed for eight years. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up and make your bed!” Immediately Aeneas stood up. All the inhabitants of Lydda and the region of Sharon saw this and turned to the Lord.

In Joppa, there was a disciple named Tabitha, a name that means Gazelle. There were many good works she did and the alms she gave. In those days, she became ill and died. Then they washed her body and placed it on the upper floor of the house. As Lydda was near Joppa, and hearing that Peter was there, the disciples sent two men with a message: “Come quickly to us!”

Peter immediately left with them. As soon as he arrived, they took him upstairs, where all the widows came to meet him. Crying, they showed Peter the tunics and cloaks that Tabitha had made when he lived with them. Pedro ordered everyone to leave. Then he got down on his knees and prayed. Then he turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up!” She then opened her eyes, saw Pedro and sat down. Pedro gave her his hand and helped her to get up. Then he called the faithful and the widows and presented Tabitha alive to them. The fact became known throughout the city of Joppa and many believed in the Lord.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (John 6,60-69)

— Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John.

— Glory to you, Lord.

At that time, many of Jesus’ disciples, who heard him, said: “This is a harsh word. Who can hear her?” Knowing that his disciples were murmuring about this very thing, Jesus asked, “Does this offend you? And when you see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? The Spirit is what gives life, the flesh is of no use. The words I spoke to you are spirit and life. But there are some among you who do not believe.” Jesus knew, from the beginning, who those without faith were and who would betray him.

And he added: “That is why I said to you: no one can come to me unless it is given to him by the Father.” From that moment on, many disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” Simon Peter replied, “To whom shall we go, Lord? You have words of eternal life. We firmly believe and acknowledge that you are the Holy One of God.”

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Today, I would like to begin our reflection with a question: how often do we feel discouraged in our journey of faith? How many times do we come across challenges and questions that make us doubt and hesitate in our search for God? Certainly, each of us has gone through moments like this. But it is precisely in these situations that we find an opportunity for a transformative encounter with the Lord.

In the biblical passages we have just heard, we find powerful stories that reveal to us the importance of persevering in faith, even in the face of adversity. In the first reading, from the book of Acts of the Apostles, we are introduced to the early Christian community. They faced persecution and challenges, but remained united and fervent in prayer. And the result of this perseverance was the manifestation of God’s power through signs and miracles performed through the apostles.

This reading reminds us that, even in the midst of difficulties, we can find the presence of God in our community life and in our personal lives. When we join together in prayer, we strengthen each other and become living witnesses of God’s love and power. Perseverance in faith helps us overcome challenges and experience God’s transforming action in our lives.

Today’s Gospel, according to John, presents us with a crucial moment in the lives of Jesus and his disciples. Jesus was teaching about the Eucharist, a profound mystery that defied human understanding. Some of the disciples were perplexed and began to question his words, saying: “This speech is hard! Who can listen to it?” (John 6:60).

Faced with this reaction, Jesus could have softened his words, seeking to please the crowd. However, he chose to challenge his followers further, asking, “Does this offend you? What about when you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before?” (John 6:61-62). Jesus was calling his disciples to a deeper level of faith and commitment.

Many of the disciples were disconcerted and abandoned Jesus at that moment. But Peter, with his unshakable faith, replied: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we believe and know that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69). Peter recognized that, despite the difficulties and questions, Jesus was the only way that led to eternal life. He chose to remain faithful, even when others gave up.

This Gospel passage is a call to each of us today. Jesus challenges us to go beyond appearances and superficial doubts. He invites us to delve deeper into his truth and make a firm decision to follow him, even when human understanding fails. We may find ourselves faced with difficult questions and mysteries that we cannot fully understand, but true faith leads us to trust God and move forward.

Like Peter, we are called to say to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.” When we face times of uncertainty and challenges to our faith, we can find our security and our hope in Christ. He is the firm rock upon which we can build our lives, even when everything else seems uncertain.

Dear brothers and sisters, these biblical passages invite us to reflect on the importance of perseverance in faith and commitment to Jesus, even when we face difficulties and questions. We should not be surprised if we encounter challenges on our spiritual journey, for authentic faith is tested and strengthened by the fire of trials.

So how can we apply these spiritual truths to our daily lives? Allow me to share some practical guidance.

First, let us strengthen our community life. Just like the first Christian community, we must unite in prayer and mutual support. Actively participating in the life of the Church, attending Holy Mass and seeking communion with our brothers and sisters in the sacraments are essential steps to strengthening our faith and finding encouragement on the journey.

Second, let us seek an intimate relationship with God through personal prayer. It is in this personal encounter that we find strength, discernment and comfort in difficulties. Let us find time daily to place ourselves in the presence of God, listen to His Word and speak to Him in sincerity and humility. Prayer feeds our faith and brings us closer to the heart of God.

Third, let us cultivate a life of study and reflection on the Scriptures. The Bible is an inexhaustible source of wisdom and guidance. By studying the Holy Scriptures, we delve into God’s eternal truths and find answers to our questions and concerns. Knowledge of God’s Word strengthens us and enables us to share faith with others.

In addition to these practical steps, allow me to use a metaphor to illustrate the importance of perseverance in faith. Imagine a sailboat sailing on the high seas. During the trip, the wind may be strong, the waves may be rough and visibility may be reduced. At these times, the captain and crew must rely on their navigational skills, the firmness of the ship’s hull, and the power of the wind to carry them to their destination.

Likewise, in our walk of faith, we are like sailors on a turbulent sea. Sometimes we will face storms of doubt, winds of adversity, and moments of spiritual darkness. However, if we remain faithful, trusting in God’s promises, we will find the strength to persevere. Let us remember that God is the captain of our lives and He will guide us safely to our desired port.

Dear brothers and sisters, faith is an ongoing journey, full of ups and downs. But when we choose to persevere, when we choose to say with Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,” we are strengthened by God’s grace and become living witnesses of His presence in our world.

May we seek to renew our trust in God this week, strengthen our faith and commit to following Jesus, even in the face of difficulties. May the Holy Spirit guide us and enable us to be light and salt to the world, witnessing divine hope and love in everything we do.

May God’s grace be with us, sustaining and strengthening us on our journey of faith. May the Virgin Mary, our loving Mother, intercede for us and help us to remain steadfast in the search for her Son. And may we experience the joy and peace that come from trusting God and committing to his love.

So be it. Amen.