John 6: 52-59
Lord, I believe that you are present here and now as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.
Holy Spirit, help me to have the fortitude to continue listening to you, to continue seeking your will even when I am tired or my prayer doesn't seem to be going well. Help me to be convinced of the need for prayer in my life so that I never surrender on the most important spiritual battlefield of all – the one of prayer.
Lord, when I encounter difficulties or weaknesses in my faith, help me to face challenges and never give up, but continue to follow you in faith.
1. What do I
The Jews Look for Understanding. The Jews have reached a sticking point. They have followed Jesus up to this point because on the preceding day he multiplied loaves and fishes to feed the multitude. They realize there is something special here, that Jesus may be the Messiah, or at least, a prophet. They are curious enough to continue following him and asking him questions. They have liked everything he has said up till now. Some of it they have not understood completely or correctly, but it has been close enough to what they are used to hearing that it causes them no great difficulty. They continue to ask questions, looking for understanding, especially an understanding they can be comfortable with. What is my underlying attitude when I question Our Lord about events and challenges in my life? Am I seeking to understand so I can embrace God's plan better, or does my response depend on how much I comprehend?
2. Opening Our
Jesus Only Offers Them Mystery. Now Jesus has said something truly shocking. He wants them to eat his flesh and drink his blood! He wants to shock them. He wants to get something from them deeper than what they have offered him until now. Up to this point, most of the crowd has been willing to accept him as a bread-provider. He fed them yesterday. Maybe, if they hang around long enough, he will do it again. Their ideas about the Messiah are too materialistic, based only on the re-establishment of David's Kingdom at the expense of the Romans. Jesus, on the other hand, wants to take them to a new level. He wants to take them into the mystery of the loving generosity of God. As good as the manna in the wilderness was, he wants to give something much better. As wonderful as David's Kingdom was, he wants to give a greater kingdom. This is so far beyond what they are looking for, that they will not be able to understand what he is offering. It will have to be accepted in faith.
3. The Greatest Gifts Come in Small Packages:
Have to Be Received in Faith. We can understand many things, even many spiritual things. In his goodness, God has given us intelligence so that we can understand some of the truths about him. But these simpler truths don't reveal the full glory of God. They are not as fulfilling as some of the more important truths about him. Jesus wants to give us his flesh to eat and his blood to drink. He reveals it this to the crowds, and since they lack faith, they don't understand since they lack faith. Some straggle off to find another "wonder-worker". Others, looking for understanding, straggle go off to look for a "teacher" who makes sense to them. But hopefully, some are looking for the revelation of the mysteries of God, the greatest gifts that God can offer. They are not looking to fill their stomachs or their minds. They are looking to fill their hearts. These are the kinds of gifts that Jesus intends to give – and in abundance.
Dear Lord, so often I am looking for material gifts from you. Other times I want your mysteries to make sense to me. Help me to realize that the greatest gifts you give may be beyond my understanding. Yet, if I am willing to accept them on faith, they will fill my heart. Perhaps with time, it will be possible for me to understand something of them as well, but greatness of faith lies in my trusting in you.
What is the spiritual gift I am most in need of? Faith? Charity? Humility? Something else? Today I will take time today and ask God in prayer to grant me that gift.
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