Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday word, 23 Apr 2007

3Easter Monday (23 Apr 2007) Ac 6. 8-15; Ps 119; Jn 6. 22-29
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
That Abiding Word

The Jesus of the Fourth Gospel is most human. The passage we just heard glimpses Jesus when he felt irritated: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.”

The people, who ate of the five loaves and two fish which Jesus multiplied for thousands, were impressed by magic and missed the sign of God which Jesus revealed to them. That is why Jesus continued to say, “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that abides for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”

That word is crucial in John’s gospel. It reappears with more than a single connotation: to abide in a place: to dwell or live; to endure; to last; to join oneself to another in a lasting way. When we believe in the Son of Man we are not performing a mental exercise as much as we are forging anew the relationship which offers us life and hope.

Relationship with Jesus is abiding nourishment. Relationship with Jesus makes us authentic. That means that we live with authority.

Service flowing from praying, not from a desire to please or to impress others: service flowing from praying speaks more eloquently than our words. Service flowing from praying completes our praying. People notice that.

The deacon who is listed as first among all the deacons, Stephen was recognized has having this authentic authority, if I may pile those two words on each other. Even his opponents recognized that, which is what the phrase, the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel, communicates. We have been baptized to pray and serve to reflect God to others, never to impress or to manipulate others.
Wiki image of St. Stephen is in the public domain.

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