Third Week of Easter: Apr. 6 - 12, 2008

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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"I am the Bread of Life." - John 6
Third Week of Easter| On the Third Sunday of Easter, Luke's Gospel has the very human story of Jesus' appearing to the disciples after the Resurrection, inviting them to touch his hands and feet to see that he is real. He ate with them and "he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures."|Monday is the Memorial of Saint John Baptist de la Salle. Friday is the Memorial of Saint Stanislaus, bishop and martyr.|The Third Week of Easter begins with the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Then did not recognized him until the breaking of the bread. The gospels all week are about his being broken and given for us as Bread that Gives Life.|The first reading all week continues the narrative of the Acts of the Apostles. We see how persecution of the early church began. Stephen is stoned to death as Paul stands by. Later in the week, we read about Paul's dramatic, blinding conversion. Finally, there are stories of Philip and Peter spreading the good news. We continue with the sixth chapter from John's Gospel. Jesus teaches us that he is giving himself - his very life - for us. As he continues he becomes more and more specific. Eventually, it is clear that the bread he gives us is his flesh for the life of the world which he calls us to make our nourishment and sustenance.|He warns us not to "work for food that perishes" and he tells us that we can't come to him unless the father "draws us" to him.|By the end of the week, his listeners can't swallow it. Jesus asks his apostles if they also wanted to leave. Peter replies, "Lord, to whom should we go? You have the words of eternal life." These very human followers are convinced, for now.|All of this leads us to the 4th Sunday of Easter where in the gospel, Jesus tells us "I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved... I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly."
Daily Prayer This Week|Remembering the pattern from last week, we will again get in touch with some desire for this week. Perhaps, the same desires I named last week are just fine, as I grow in depth with those graces. Or, a grace I've been praying for reveals an even deeper grace to ask for.|In general, the readings themselves will help us as we listen to them and pay attention to our hearts. When we reflect on those Emmaus disciples, and how they didn't recognize him, until he opened the scriptures and showed himself to them as "broken" for them, what comes to my heart? Can I ask for the grace to recognize him as with me when I think all has gone wrong, or when things don't turn out the way I had hoped they would? And, when Jesus tells us not to work for food that will perish, do I remember all the times that I sure seem to invest myself in stuff that doesn't last? Perhaps I can ask for the grace to recognize where I get my nourishment. And, when Jesus says that we can't come to Jesus, unless the Father draws us, we can ask most sincerely that the Father draw us to Jesus this week.|So, when we are getting up, and going about our busy, daily lives this week, we want to be in friend-to-friend communication with Jesus, asking him to nourish me and sustain me. In the face of great difficulties and challenges to love generously and faithfully, we might pray "Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit." As we keep hearing Jesus remind us that he is giving us the gift of his body and blood - as sacrifice and as food - we might ask for the grace to "give thanks and praise" this week - either at a weekday liturgy or while cooking or shopping or going home from work.|As we move through the week, and give thanks each night for the graces we are asking for and receiving, we prepare our spirits for the upcoming Sunday and the good news that Jesus the gate, the way, the path that give us life.|Lord, may all that I am today, all that I try to do today,|may all my encounters, reflections, even the frustrations and failings|all place my life in your hands.|Lord, my life is in your hands.|Please, let this day give you praise.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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