Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

Acts 8:26-40; Ps 66:8,9,16,17, 20; Jn 6:44-51

The Psalm addresses all who fear God and you peoples.  Everyone who can hear is an audience for this Psalm that declares what God has done for us all.  The joy of salvation is contagious, and like the Psalm, Saint Philip cannot hold back.  The Spirit moves Saint Philip where He wills and the good news reaches all the towns until he reached Casarea.  Jerusalem rejects the early church and the hungry world embraces the followers of the Lord Jesus, the bread of life.  The Lord Jesus, too, proclaims to the crowd that whoever believes in him has eternal life.  Everyone who has been taught by God comes to the Lord Jesus and is nourished by the bread of life.  Everyone who comes, even Ethiopians, eunuchs, and the people of Azotus, is nourished.

Saint Philip is obedient to an angel of the LORD, to the Spirit of God, and to the request of a stranger.  The stranger seems to be a Jewish convert, an Ethiopian eunuch, who wants to understand the meaning of one of the Suffering Servant Songs in the prophecy of Isaiah.  With this passage as an opening Saint Philip enters into the stranger’s heart and proclaims the good news of the cross and resurrection of the Faithful Servant, Jesus Christ.  His interpretation, evangelization, and catechesis is so powerful that the eunuch pointed to some water and asked, “What is to keep me from being baptized?”  Both continue down the Way, in Christ, the eunuch back to Ethiopia, to declare God’s great kindness, and Saint Philip continues to invite all the earth to cry out with joy.  The revelation through the Law and the Prophets enables us to see the fulfillment of God’s design.  The Word of God attracts a universal hunger and thirst, and the Word Made Flesh satisfies completely all those who come to him, the bread of life.

The Lord Jesus quotes the prophets who declare that they shall all be taught by God.  All who listen to the Father and learn from him come to Jesus Christ and believe.  This universal outreach points out the difference between the ministry of Moses and Jesus.  Moses is God’s Friend, and yet the LORD God places him in a crevice and covers his face so that he does not gaze upon the LORD, lest he die.  Moses is close to God, but he never sees the Father.  The Lord Jesus is the one who is from God and has seen the Father.  The manna in the desert fed the people Moses let, but they died.  The bread that is Jesus comes down from heaven for a man to eat and never die.  The Word Became Flesh and dwelt among us to give over his flesh and die so that we might live now in the joy of salvation and forever in the kingdom of his glory.  Such is his promise to us and to all who have heard the Father and learned from Him.  The question remains in Saint John’s Gospel how is Jesus to give over his flesh for the life of the world?  The Lord Jesus, the bread of life, begins to respond.  He will give his flesh, this revelation points to both the altar of the cross and the table of the Passover Feast.  The Lord Jesus’ self-gift so transforms us that we can not hold back; indeed our joy is so contagious, and we cry out, “blessed is God who refused me not my prayer or his kindness!”  Such joy attracted people to Saint Philip, and it will attract people to us so that we can give our testimony about the reason we have to be hopeful.  We have seen the Face of God in the Lord Jesus and have died to ourselves so that we can live forever.  It is this faith that ignites a life of charity, and it gives us hope to live from day to day.