Gospel Reflection – Thursday, April 18, 2024 – John 6,44-51 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Acts 8,26-40)

Reading of the Acts of the Apostles.

In those days, an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying: “Prepare yourself and go south, on the path that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. The path is desert.” Philip got up and went. There appeared an Ethiopian eunuch, minister of Candace, queen of Ethiopia, and general administrator of her treasury, who had gone on pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

He was coming home and was sitting in his car, reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near that chariot and follow it.” Philip ran, heard the eunuch read the prophet Isaiah and asked: “Do you understand what you are reading?”

The eunuch replied: “How can I, if no one explains it?” Then he invited Philip to come up and sit next to him. The passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading was this: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb before its shearer, he was silent and did not open his mouth. They humiliated him and denied him justice; and his descendants, who can number them? For his life was torn from the earth.”

And the eunuch said to Philip: “I ask you to explain to me about whom the prophet is saying this. Does he speak of himself or does he refer to someone else?” Then Philip began to speak and, starting from this passage of Scripture, announced Jesus to the eunuch. They continued on their way and came to a place where there was water. Then the eunuch said to Philip, “Here we have water. What prevents me from being baptized?”

The eunuch ordered the car to stop. The two went down to the water and Philip baptized the eunuch. When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away. The eunuch no longer saw him and continued his journey, full of joy. Filipe ended up in Azoto. And, passing on, he evangelized all the cities until he reached Caesarea.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (John 6,44-51)

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

— Glory to you, Lord.

At that time, Jesus said to the crowd: “No one can come to me unless the father who sent me attracts him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘All will be disciples of God’. Now everyone who has listened to the Father and has been instructed by him comes to me. Not that anyone has ever seen the Father. Only he who comes from God has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the desert and yet they died. Here is the bread that comes down from heaven: whoever eats it will never 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 given for the life of the world.”

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Today, I want to start our reflection with a question: have you ever felt lost at any point in your life? Maybe you’ve felt lost in a relationship, a career, or even your faith. The feeling of getting lost is scary, as it leaves us aimless, without direction. But know that you are not alone. Our biblical passages today reveal to us that God is always ready to meet us and lead us back to the path of truth and life.

In the first reading, we followed the story of the Ethiopian eunuch who was returning from Jerusalem, reading the words of the prophet Isaiah. He was thirsty to understand the Scriptures, but he felt lost among so many words and prophecies. So the Holy Spirit sent Philip to help him. Philip approached the eunuch and asked: “Do you understand what you are reading?”

This question resonates in our lives today. How many times have we read the Scriptures but not truly understood them? How many times have we felt lost in the face of Jesus’ teachings? It is at this moment that the Holy Spirit acts in us, sending people and situations to help us understand and find the true meaning of the Word of God. Philip explained to the eunuch what he was reading, and the man’s heart opened to the truth.

Just like the Ethiopian eunuch, we also find divine wisdom revealed in the words of Jesus on our path. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells us: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” These words may seem complex, but let’s unravel their meaning together.

Imagine yourself in a boat adrift in a rough sea. The violent waves threaten to capsize the boat and throw them into the depths. But suddenly you see a bright light that attracts you. This light is God’s merciful hand reaching toward them, drawing them to a safe haven. This is the attraction of the Father that Jesus mentions.

But how can we experience this divine attraction in our lives? Jesus gives us the answer: “I am the living bread come down from heaven.” Just as bread is essential for our physical sustenance, Jesus is essential for our spiritual life. He is the food that nourishes us, strengthens us and attracts us to the loving presence of the Father.

When we approach the Eucharist, when we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, we are drawn into the mystery of divine love. It is as if God, in his infinite generosity, embraced us and invited us to be part of his life. The Eucharist is the manifestation of divine love that draws us into deep communion with God and with our brothers and sisters.

But it is not enough to just be attracted by God’s love; we must respond to that pull. Jesus tells us, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him.” This is a call to communion, to union with Christ. We must allow ourselves to be transformed by this experience and allow Christ to live in us and through us.

Throughout our lives, we are constantly attracted to many things: success, power, pleasure. But these passing attractions cannot satisfy our spiritual hunger. Only God’s love can fill this void in our hearts.

Dear brothers and sisters, I invite you to ask yourselves: What attracts you? What moves them towards God? And, most importantly, how do you respond to this attraction? Allow yourselves to be attracted by divine love, seek the food that only Jesus can offer. And, like the Ethiopian eunuch, seek to truly understand the Word of God. Open your hearts to the action of the Holy Spirit, who is always ready to guide us and illuminate our understanding.

Remember that our faith is not just an intellectual theory, but something that must be lived out in our daily lives. Therefore, I want to share with you a story that illustrates the importance of living the teachings of Jesus.

There was a young man who dreamed of becoming a great musician. He studied and practiced tirelessly, but there was one problem: he was afraid of performing in public. Every time he was in front of an audience, his heart raced, his hands shook, and he couldn’t produce the sound he knew he was capable of.

One day, he decided to face his fear and signed up to participate in a music competition. When the day of the performance arrived, he went on stage, looked at the audience and felt fear taking over his body. But then, he remembered a quote he heard from his teacher: “Music is like life. You can only truly play it if you let your heart enter the melody.”

With this memory in mind, the young man took a deep breath, closed his eyes and let his passion for music take control of him. He played with all his soul, giving himself completely to the melody. And something incredible happened. The fear dissipated, and he felt a deep connection to the music and the audience. His performance was magnificent, and he received warm applause.

Dear brothers and sisters, like the young musician, we are also called to let our hearts enter into the melody of life. Jesus invites us to fully live love, compassion, generosity and justice. He calls us to transcend our fears, insecurities, and selfishness so that we can play the divine symphony that resonates within each of us.

And how can we do this? Firstly, we must dedicate time daily to prayer and reading the Word of God. Like the Ethiopian eunuch, we must seek to understand the Scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us on our spiritual journey.

Furthermore, we must open ourselves to others, practicing charity and love for others. Jesus taught us to love even our enemies, to forgive seventy times seven, to turn the other cheek. These teachings may seem difficult, but remember that Jesus does not give us impossible tasks. He gives us the grace and strength necessary to live according to his will.

When we allow God’s love to enter our lives and manifest it through our actions, we become instruments of transformation in our world. We can be like music that touches the hearts of those around us, inspiring them to seek God and live according to His commandments.

Dear brothers and sisters, today we are called to reflect on what attracts us and how we respond to that attraction. May we open our hearts to the action of the Holy Spirit, allowing him to guide us on our spiritual journey. May we seek the spiritual food that only Jesus can offer, allowing him to live in us and through us. And may we fully live the melody of life, touching divine love in every action, in every word and in every thought.

May the grace of God be with us, strengthening us and leading us on the path of holiness. May the Holy Spirit inspire and guide us in our quest to understand the Scriptures. And may the love of Jesus be the beacon that attracts us and guides us on our journey towards eternal life.

So be it. Amen.