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Saturday, May 2, 2020

Reflection 2020-05-02 Saturday 3rd Week of Easter (St Athanasius)

Acts 9:31-42; Psalm 116; John 6:53, 60-69

There is a portion in the Gospel today that is cut off, which I believe is very critical. It has Jesus speak of eating his flesh and drinking his blood twice. Counting this instance at the start of the Gospel, Jesus speaks of eating the flesh and drinking his blood three times! This is how important this teaching is: that we have life when we eat his flesh and drink his blood. The word eat in Greek means to chew. Jesus wants us to chew on his flesh and drink his blood so we can have eternal life.
This is the teaching many of his disciples heard and could not accept. Instead of explaining further, saying he was talking symbolically, Instead of backing off, watering down his teaching, Jesus stands his ground and even asks: Does this offend you? Since this was a hard teaching, many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. Imagine, these are not his enemies, but his disciples, who have followed him and learned from him. Sadly, many sincere disciples of Jesus cannot accept the Truth that the Bread and Wine we receive at mass is the Body and Blood of Jesus. More sad is the fact many Catholics teachers water down this teaching and compromise it. But the truth is the truth. And we cannot change it no matter how much we believe otherwise.
Which is why Jesus turned to the Apostles and ask: Do you also wish to go away? Believing in Jesus is a choice. He gave them a chance to also walk away. But Peter responds: Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God. Peter did not say, Lord, we understand. The Apostles probably did not understand also. Yet, they made a choice on who they want to believe: what others say or what Jesus said.
God created the universe by his Word. So the truth comes from what God says and not from human opinions. I refer to human opinions not reason based on truth, since our faith depends on reason that is based on the truth, and the Truth is the Person of Jesus.
This is why the First Reading says the church had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in number. Many people want the Church to change her teaching to get more people to come. We see this in other Catholic parishes and religious communities who compromise the teaching of Christ. Instead of growing, they die. These compromise the faith, without fear of the Lord or comfort of the Spirit. They have lost supernatural faith and rely only on their opinions.
We celebrate today, St Athanasius who lived at a time when a great majority of the bishops of the Church did not believe in the divinity of Jesus. Imagine what the Church was like at that time, where the bishops, who were supposed to keep the truth were preaching their opinions rather than the truth. There was violence on both sides to maintain their side of the truth. But Athanasius stood firm and proved Jesus is divine through reason based on the Truth, not on human opinions. God used Athanasius to correct a prevailing error at that time. This error however, gave us part of the Nicene creed which we recite today.
So the question is: do I want the truth Jesus preached, or do I believe what human opinions say? If I am confused, the only thing to do is to come to Jesus and ask him to send his Spirit so we can have the fear of God and be comforted by the Spirit. Come to Jesus and see him, so you can see the Truth, which is not an idea, but a Person: Jesus Christ.
Lord, I am confused. I do not know what is true. I want to know the truth. I want you to reveal yourself to me. Help me Lord. May I trust you, that I believe in you and not in human opinions. I may not understand what you say, but I know, I am following you. This is enough. Come Lord, show yourself to me, and lead me to YOUR Truth.

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