Would You Like Life-Saving Bread?

If you have been following the readings for the week, you probably read about the Martyrdom of St. Stephen by stoning (Acts of the Apostles, 7:54).

Well today, in Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 8, we read about the persecution of the Church following Stephen’s death. What is important to note is that even in the midst of all of this turmoil, it was understood that the Word of God must continue to be preached.

And in the Gospel of John (6:35-40), Jesus is talking to those who are gathered about the Bread of Life.  The crowd is a little confused, and thinking quite literally, asks Jesus for some of the bread. 

After all, who wouldn’t want life-saving bread?

But what they are missing is the fact that Jesus himself IS the Bread that the Father has sent down from heaven to give life to the world.

Since they were unclear, Jesus stated it unconditionally:

“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

He goes on to address the fact that although they have seen him, they do not believe.  Here’s the great news for us:

“Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.”

Jesus has no plans to lose even one of us.  His mission is clear—he has come to give us eternal life so that one day we will be with him in heaven.  He has come for me and he has come for you, and he has no plan to lose either of us.

Which makes me wonder, how, in our stubbornness, can so many of us go through our days as if he did not live (and die) for us, ignoring or rejecting him?

Are we not afraid that by dismissing him as fictional or just a good man or an important prophet (rather than God), that we might miss out on eternal life due to our own stubbornness?

Don’t we absolutely love him for what he did for us?

Remember, the apostles, including Stephen, considered spreading the Word about Jesus worthy of their life; they were willing to suffer, so important did they understand this message and the need to get the Word out!
Today, as we remember the great Dominican saint, *Catherine of Siena, a virgin and doctor of the church, I want to leave you with a few very relevant quotes from her:

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

“Proclaim the truth and do not be silent through fear”

“Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.”

Janet Cassidy

It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:20)

*St.Catherine of Siena was born in 1347 in Italy. She became a third order Dominican, learned to read and write, and was known for her service to the poor and her involvement in politics. She worked for the unity of the Church and was loyal to the pope. She died April 29, 1380 at the age of thirty-three and was later proclaimed a Doctor of the Church. Her best known spiritual writing is The Dialogue. Her quotes, though over six hundred years old, are still relevant today and can be a launching pad for our personal prayer.


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