Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter

(Acts 7:51-8:1a; John 6:30-35)

Jesus is sometimes called “the new Moses.” In the Sermon on the Mount of Matthew’s gospel it is said that Jesus like Moses presents the new Law to the people of Israel. In today’s gospel passage from John the people demand that Jesus give a sign like Moses that he is worth believing in. But Jesus is much more than another Moses. Both Matthew and John see Jesus as God’s Son speaking with his own divine authority.

At the hub of today’s passage the Jews assert that Moses gave their forefathers manna in the desert as a sign of his legitimacy. Jesus corrects the notion. It was not Moses who gave them bread, he says, but the Father who continues to feed them now with Jesus himself, the bread of life. We might say that as bread Jesus is multi-grained. In one way he bestows God’s wisdom as food for thought. In another he presents his body and blood under the forms of bread and wine which nourish the human spirit.

Although most Catholics reverence the Eucharist adequately as Jesus’ body and blood, we often lack a proper appreciation of his teaching as spiritual food. We have to study it, contemplate it, and - most of all – live it.