Wednesday, April 29, 2009

For the Life of the World

April 30, 2009

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" He replied, "How can I, unless someone instructs me?" So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him. Acts 8:30-31

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. John 6:49-51


May He support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and our work is done! Then in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last. John Henry Newman


New teachings lead to new dimensions in our faith. Philip is in the midst of a group reunion with the eunuch in the chariot. They are working on their study when we first encounter them. Then, the agenda shifts to piety (baptism). There is no doubt in my mind that the eunuch would say the encounter with Philip and subsequent baptism was his closest moment to Christ.

When we get together for our Group Reunion, we often can learn new teachings and new dimensions of our faith from each other as they bring Christ to us. That was what Philip did. That also is what Jesus did in our Gospel reading.

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. John 6:48-51

Jesus took a passage with which his audience was familiar and molded it into a new teaching. When we open our minds, our ears and our hearts to the Word, we can learn much that is new.

Jesus promises that his body will deliver life for the world. That life starts one person at a time.


Faith is an act, not a motto and not mere window dressing. The eunuch was not content with just reading the Bible. He wanted to be baptized. Jesus knew that he was shocking his disciples with the Bread of Life teaching. He was a hard teaching and many of the disciples left Jesus because of it. However, others did not.

Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?" Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God." John 6:67-69

Their faith led them to stick with Jesus. We know that the group frayed on Good Friday in the face of the death penalty being imposed upon the lamb. After the Resurrection, the consequences of following Jesus did not result in people turning away, not the disciples, not the eunuch and not the members of the new church.

Can we be as true to our faith as they were? Can we live up to the principles of our faith in our actions, not just in our words?

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