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Excuse Me, Can I Get the Bread That Won’t Go Bad?

April 22, 2015

If we were hauled into court and accused, could we be convicted of being a Catholic Christian?  Would we be convicted?  Like Father Charles talked about Sunday, would we succumb to the secular mob?  Would we save our own skin?  Stephen sure didn’t.  Steven made it a point to layout the whole of Jewish history before the Sanhedrin – and then convicted them right in their own court.  They stoned him, with the echoes of his forgiveness still ringing at the city walls.  My family talks about this quite frequently, especially at Easter.  If Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, Savior and Redeemer of the World, came today, would this story turn out any different?  We do not think so.  Why?  Because of faith.  In fact, I think that The Greatest Story Ever Told would turn out exactly as it did just about 2,000 years ago.

Because, as Paul comes to teach us, in Romans, and in Galatians, that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ (Gal 2:16).  More importantly, by dying to self, by being crucified along with Christ, Paul emphasizes, “I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing” (Gal 2: 20, 21).  That’s the answer – because Christ would have died for nothing.

When looking at today’s Gospel, it is crucial to go back to Friday’s Gospel of the Multiplication of the Loaves.  The crowd – desperate for their idea of a Messiah – saw this great sign (John called them signs, not just cool miracles, but signs of the coming of the Son of God) and they were, like, ‘grab him! That’s the guy! We will make him our King!’   But he withdrew.  To the mountain.  Alone.  Not to withdraw the mercy of God, but to be sure they receive mercy of God when they became justified; when they believed in him.  The people of Israel were still thinking of salvation as being led by a king – like poor Saul.

So the crowd tracked him down to Capernaum.  And they said, ‘You’re the guy!’  Not because of being the Son of God, but because he filled their bellies, and could fill their pantries – for obvious earthly reasons.  They would never go hungry.  But Jesus wants them come to Him for salvation, for He is the Bread of Life.  So they – we – could come to believe in him and the one who sent him, and have eternal life.  For this Jesus came into the world.

I have met so many good, hardworking people in this parish.  And it seems very much that the less we earn, the harder we have to work; the more challenges we must overcome.  But know this in your hearts – the Lord desires you to work just as hard as you do for earthly bread.  And how do we do that?  By works of mercy.  By imitating Christ – that whole ‘whatever you have done for these least ones you have done for me’.  By not passing the outstretched hand of Christ in the marketplace.  In becoming more Christ like…

To be convicted.

 

Happy Easter! Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!

Love, Papa

 

April 20, 2015: Third Monday in Easter

Acts 6:8-15.  They could not withstand the wisdom and Spirit with which he spoke.

Psalm 119: 1ab – Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord.

John 6: 22-29Do not work for food that perishes but for food that endures for eternal life.

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