Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday of the Second Week of Easter

(Acts 5:34-42; John 6:1-15)

The chapter “The Grand Inquisitor” represents the high point of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s masterpiece The Brothers Karamazov. The story-within-a-story pictures a malevolent Spanish cardinal reproving Jesus for not taking advantage of the ability to provide people with bread in exchange for their subjugation. The tale finds its source in today’s gospel.

Jesus has miraculously fed the people with bread. The symbolic action anticipates the Eucharist where Jesus’ sharing of body and blood will free his followers. It will be a complete liberation. They will never be compelled to accept him for physical sustenance or anything else. Indeed, they will retain the choice to reject him. In the passage Jesus demonstrates this unwillingness to subjugate the people by evading their coming to make him king. They will have to work for their upkeep, but they will do so knowing that God really cares for them dearly.

People often enslave themselves to things like comfort, convenience, and carnal desire. In a distorted world such subjugation may seem worth the price. But we know that Christ’s freedom offers much more. As his followers, it enables us to develop our human potential which transcends itself into eternal life.