Reflections

Reflections

20 April 2021

Reading and meditation on the Word of God on Tuesday of the 3rd week of Easter, April 20, 2021


It was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven. My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. Reading and meditation on the Word of God on Tuesday of the 3rd week of Easter, April 20, 2021. Reading is delivered by Felicia Husada and meditation delivered by Andrew Lazaro (they are from the Church of Santa Maria Ratu Blok Q in Jakarta, Indonesia). Acts of the Apostles 7: 51 – 8: 1a; Rs psalm 31: 3cd-4.6ab.7b.8a.17.21ab; John 6: 30-35.

A STRONG FAITH BEARS FRUIT

The theme for our meditation today is: A Strong Faith Bears Fruit. In a common understanding, a strong faith that bears fruit is in relation with goodness and truth achieved that should become the example for others. The highest achievement is no other than the one of the Lord Jesus Christ. He had sacrificed Himself for all of us and for the whole world. The same achievement was also made by Stephen, one of the disciples of Jesus in the Early Church.

Before making himself an example for His followers, Jesus said through His teachings about the greatest and true love. He said that the greatest and true love is in the one who sacrifices himself for the good and salvation of his or her brothers and sisters. His own teachings and practices were eventually accepted and followed by the apostles and disciples. Stephen was the first disciple to follow the Master and he was named the first martyr in our Church.

The greatest and best fruit of faith is martyrdom. A martyr in the narrow sense is the one killed or shed his or her blood for the sake of Christ, His gospel, and the truth that comes down from God. In a broad sense, a martyr is the one who lives in a spirit of sacrifice, who dies physically and detached from the world, and who devotes his or her entire life to the work and service of this world, as part of building up the kingdom of God. Saint Stephen the martyr is our example of the first sense of martyrdom and he was followed by so many members of the Church during the time of the early Church, following the spread of the gospel from time to time to this day. The choice for a monastic lifestyle where men and women dedicate their entire lives in the service of the kingdom of God and mankind is our example of the broad sense of martyrdom.

In these two perspectives of martyrdom, the sacrifice of oneself actually follows the one and the same model of sacrifice. That model is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus had left us a common symbol that we should use in our expressions of faith, that serves to remind us always on the self-sacrifice which is our permanent and true way to offer the fruits of our faith. This symbol is the Eucharist. Jesus describes Himself as the Bread of Life, through which He invites us to always come to Him in order to have life. We should come to Him that we won’t be hungry anymore. We should trust in Him that we don’t get thirsty anymore.

Self-sacrifice is the way of doing our faith, like what is shown by the broken Eucharistic bread. The fruits are the sacrifice of ourselves, the good we obtain, and the salvation of others through the sacrifices we make. Let’s pray. In the name of the Father … Our good and almighty God, may Your Spirit make our faith always bear good fruit in love and peace. Glory to the Father and to the Son … In the name of the Father …

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