Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I Am the Bread of Life April 26

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

“Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” Acts 8:30-31

"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.” John 6:50-51


Gather us into your arms, Lord, so we will always know that you keep us close.

Gather us into your mind, Lord, so we will always know you understand us and instruct us with Your holy words.

Gather us into your heart, Lord, so we will always know that you love us. Amen.


Old teachings from the Hebrew Bible are relearned and renewed as the Church takes root in the first century. After the martyrdom of St. Stephen, the disciples continue teaching in Jesus’ name even though they were cautioned not to. Today’s reading relates the interaction between Philip and the Ethiopian who was joining into this new sect – still not called Christianity (In fact the word “Christianity” is never used in the Gospels).

Philip’s teaching can be compared and contrasted with the teaching of Jesus in today’s Good News reading from John’s Gospel. Both passages teach/interpret stories originally related in the Hebrew Bible’s Book of Isaiah.

Philip helps the Ethiopian to understand the story of the suffering servant (Is 53:10-12)

In turn, Jesus expounds on the fact that we will learn from God who draws us close to Him. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day.” (John 6:44) This builds on the promise in Isaiah 54:13: All your sons shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.

The Ethiopian is drawn by the Lord into an encounter Philip. In response, Philip is sent by the angel of the Lord to teach the Ethiopian. With the teaching and belief established, God leads the student and teacher to living water (baptism). Thanks to the student’s turning toward God, Philip provides him with baptism that fulfills both the promise of the Hebrew Bible and the teaching of Jesus.


The life of the world is not in great shape these days. We too must relearn and renew the teachings of the Hebrew Bible as reshaped in the New Testament and in the modern era. Just as Philip picked up on the responsibility to instruct those drawn to God, we, too, have a duty as Christians to work to assure the life of the world.

A World Bank report this month pointed out that global aid to poor countries fell last year despite pledges to the contrary made by the world’s richest nations. The Washington Post noted that this decline jeopardizes the goal of doubling aid to Africa as well as meeting the United Nation's “Millennium Development Goals,” which include reducing global poverty by increasing aid to Africa. The story pointed out that “U.S. aid was down 20 percent from 2005.”

Contact your elected officials and ask them to assure the life of the world by meeting goals for US aid to the poorest people and countries on earth. Also, make a charitable gift to Catholic Relief Services ( or another organization working to assure help to people in need.

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