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Friday, April 19, 2002

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Acts 9:1-20
Psalm 117
John 6:52-59

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insisting on great faith

"Thereupon Jesus said to them: 'Let Me solemnly assure you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you." —John 6:53

Jesus promised He would give us His flesh to eat (Jn 6:51). This is very difficult to understand and even offensive, especially to Jesus. Therefore, "the Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, 'How can He give us His flesh to eat?' " (Jn 6:52) At this point, Jesus did not modify or explain His statement. He repeated it four times (Jn 6:53, 54, 55, 56). In the Greek, the writer of John's Gospel changed the word for "eat" to a word which can be translated "chew" (Jn 6:53). This may be based on Jesus changing the word. In effect, Jesus insisted we are receiving His Body and Blood in Holy Communion.

This is not contradictory to reason. For example, a baby in the womb feeds on his mother's flesh and blood. Similarly, Jesus has given us His body and blood to sustain our life in Him. However, the baby does not need to believe in his mother. But, although we see only what appears to be bread and wine, Jesus insists that we must believe that He is really present as the Eucharist. St. Thomas Aquinas maintained that believing in the Eucharist is the most challenging act of faith. Jesus does not want us to walk by little faith or by no faith (see 2 Cor 5:7). He challenges and graces us to live by great faith, especially in His gift of Himself as the Eucharist.

Prayer:  Father, may I believe so deeply in the Eucharist that I will die for Jesus.

Promise:  "When he (Ananias) entered the house he laid his hands on Saul and said, 'Saul, my brother, I have been sent by the Lord Jesus Who appeared to you on the way here, to help you recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.' Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized." —Acts 9:17-18

Praise:  Robert has taken time every week for ten years to spend time with Jesus in eucharistic adoration.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Giles H. Pater, November 15, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 16, 2001