Today’s first reading, describing Stephen’s trial, is a reflection of the trial of Jesus; a charge of blasphemy, false witnesses testifying before the Sanhedrin. Jesus and the Good News did not fit into the schemas of the Jewish establishment. They focused on the law, to such an extent that they became blinded to God’s revelation in Jesus. We should know by now that God is always doing something new, whether it be actually becoming incarnate to woo us back into relationship with God, or suffering and dying on a cross when that wasn’t enough to draw us to Godself. In the Gospel, Jesus admonishes the people who follow him because of the miracles he performed, the physical need for food he met by multiplying loaves of bread, instead of following him because he was fulfilling the prophesies of the Messiah, the Anointed One of God.
Today’s Gospel passage is the prologue to Jesus’ Bread of Life discourse. Jesus is our Bread of Life! In this Easter season, we celebrate Jesus’ victory over physical death and profess our belief in the resurrection. God did something new in physically rising from the dead, with a glorified body. The Jewish establishment was not expecting this, and did not accept it. We do not always know what God will do next, but are we paying attention? Are our hearts open to God’s revelation in our lives today?
– Moira Reilly (PVI-Jamaica ’06-’07) is a caretaker at Bethlehem Farm, a Catholic community in Appalachia that transforms lives through service with the local community and the teaching of sustainable practices. We invite volunteers to join us in living the Gospel cornerstones of prayer, simplicity, community and service. www.bethlehemfarm.net