Saturday, April 05, 2008

Saturday word, 05 Apr 2008

Easter Saturday2 (05 Apr 2008) Ac 6. 1-7; Ps 33; Jn 6. 16-21
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Our Most Important Service

The Fourth Gospel has a sacramental aspect. Its way of using the elements of water and bread evoke both baptism and eucharist. The verses today follow yesterday’s about Jesus multiplication of the loaves and serving the hungry. That was a prominent feature of what was handed to believers, who like us, did not meet the human Jesus. The Fourth Gospel reshaped that tradition: Jesus identified himself as the bread of life, which nourishes beyond satisfying human hunger to give us a share in divine life.

The tradition linked his feeding miracle with Jesus’ walking on the sea. Jesus served his disciples with words they would hear again and again after his resurrection: I am. Do not be afraid. I am was the name of God, the name which God gave Moses when God sent Moses to serve God’s people. The Fourth Gospel placed the divine name on the lips of Jesus.

It can be difficult for us to enter into the skins and souls of the disciples who saw the human Jesus walk on water, and the risen Jesus, gloriously alive, return to them. Jesus invites us to share the awe of the first disciples, and more, to feel and to know awe first hand.

Jesus served his disciples in the boat by assuring them they had nothing to fear. Jesus assures us, too. We are not able to cause this transformation from fear, reluctance, even shame to call ourselves friends of Jesus. Jesus’ Spirit, his self-gift, overshadowed the first disciples and blessed them with holy boldness.

The eucharist, Jesus’ self-gift, sustains and nourishes our share in Holy Spirit. When we surrender to and cooperate with Jesus’ Spirit, we are empowered to provide one of the most important services to one another: we can keep each other from being paralyzed and disfigured by fear and strengthen each other to live as more confident friends of Jesus.
Wiki-image of Darko Tepert's photo of detail of the Church of the Annunciation (Nazareth, Israel) is used according to Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlive 2.5 license.

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