“They shall all be taught by God.”

As we move into the Bread of Life discourse in John (6:44-51 today), it is worth briefly covering what we missed due to a feast day.  Yesterday, in vv. 35-40, Jesus reiterates that He has been sent by God the Father to give eternal life to those who believe in Him; and He adds that for believers He “will raise them up on the last day” (v. 40).  What follows (vv. 41-43) is not in the daily readings but is instructive as a bridge to today’s passage: the Jews  in the crowd murmured because Jesus claimed to come from heaven because they knew Joseph (mentioned by name) His (foster, unbeknownst to them) father and mother.  We find Jesus’ response today.  In it, He does not address the Jews’ concerns directly but appeals to their prophets (see the headline for a strong allusion to Isaiah 53), of whose writing they know well and who foretold of the Messiah’s (Jesus’) coming (cf. Lk 24:27).  He then invites them to faith in Him, restating that He is the bread of life come down from heaven to give eternal life, and that “bread” is His flesh (which, as we will see, scandalizes the Jews).  Jesus’ appeal to the prophets, and ipso facto, the Word of God is instructive for us.  Faith is a gift from God.  But so are the Bible and the Church.  Like the Jews of Jesus’ day, we are not called to a blind faith.  God has given us the great gift of divine revelation to grow in knowledge, understanding, and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Through this conversation our Lord wishes to have with us, our faith will only be strengthened as we come to grow closer to Him.  And we will be better evangelists too, as we follow St. Peter’s call to “[a]lways be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope” (1 Pt 3;15).  We can do this daily through prayer, reading of Scripture, learning the Catechism, and reading good books.  Let us never miss an opportunity to “be taught by God.”

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