08 May, 2019. Wednesday, 3rd Week of Easter

Wednesday of Week 3 of Easter

1st Reading: Acts 8:1-8

After Stephen’s burial, Saul starts persecuting the church

Saul approved of their killing him. That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison.
Now those who were scattered went from place to place, proclaiming the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. The crowds with one accord listened eagerly to what was said by Philip, hearing and seeing the signs that he did, for unclean spirits, crying with loud shrieks, came out of many who were possessed; and many others who were paralyzed or lame were cured. So there was great joy in that city.

Responsorial: Psalm 65: 1-7

Response: Let all the earth cry out to God with joy

Cry out with joy to God all the earth,
O sing to the glory of his name.
O render him glorious praise.
Say to God: ‘How tremendous your deeds!’ (R./)
‘Before you all the earth shall bow;
shall sing to you, sing to your name.’
Come and see the works of God,
tremendous his deeds among men. (R./)
He turned the sea into dry land,
they passed through the river dry-shod.
Let our joy then be in him;
he rules for ever by his might. (R./)

Gospel: John 6:35-40

Jesus says, “I am the bread of life — I will raise them up on the last day.”

Jesus said to the people, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.”

Insiders and Outsiders

Although Jerusalem had a special place of Jesus’ ministry, the city violently rejected his disciples, while outsiders, particularly in Samaria, accepted his word, were blessed with miracles, and were converted and baptised. Sophisticated Jerusalem with its religious schools and centuries-old traditions, never gave Jesus or his disciples a fair hearing; while the despised Samaritans responded with joy to the gospel message.
Comparing Jerusalem with Samaria alerts us to the fact that believing the gospel is more than just an intellectual assent to religious doctrine. In Jerusalem the sacred tradition of Moses was preserved, by the central governing body of Judaism. Yet, Jerusalem violently rejected the Gospel call to salvation. There was a direct simplicity about the Samaritans’ outlook that made them open to new possibilities. Because they were not afraid of saying Yes to something new, the flower of faith blossomed among them.
Truly, the Bread of Life is most readily received by the humble of heart.

Even if they say no at first

The deacon Philip shared the gospel with the people of Samaria and was warmly welcomed. In Luke’s first volume, Jesus tried to speak to the Samaritans but they rejected him because he was heading for Jerusalem. But later they welcomed his gospel with great joy, on hearing it from the lips of the cheerfully open-hearted Philip. God’s word can blossom even where it was first rejected. Even though we may turn from the Lord at times, he never turns his back on us. Indeed we have Jesus’ own word that, “Whoever comes to me I shall not turn away.”
Easter celebrates the total faithfulness of God to his Son Jesus, and to all of us. This encourages we keep turning back to him, trusting him, even after we have in some ways turned away from him. Though we often fail to respond to the grace of Jesus Christ, he still gives himself to us as the bread of life and continues to promise that if we come to him we will never hunger and if we believe in him we will never thirst.

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