- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

May 8, 2019

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO [1]

3rd Wednesday of Easter Time
Acts 6: 1 – 7; Ps 33; John 6; 16 – 21

Throughout His public life the Lord Jesus made promises; the first recorded in the Gospel of John is one to Nathaniel, “You will see the angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” At the Last Supper, Jesus said, “Anyone who loves Me will be true to My word. And My Father will love him; We will come to him and make our dwelling place with him.” In today’s Gospel, Jesus promises, “I Myself am the bread of life. No one who comes to Me shall ever be hungry, no one who believes in Me shall ever thirst.”

The promises coming from the One who is ever faithful and always true are clearly extravagant – exceedingly abundant, profuse beyond words and imagination. To say these things is one thing but to have a taste, an experience of such divine extravagance is quite another. It is only through prayer, through serious reflection on the Sacred Word that anyone can come to this and even with this, the reality of the Lord’s abundance is never total, complete in this life.

Jesus Himself, our Lord of surpassing greatness in every way, in the Gospel of St. Matthew teaches us our response: “I tell you, unless your holiness – your response, your desire – surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees you shall not enter into the kingdom of God.” In other words, in settling for the law for the law’s sake, the promises of the Lord will elude us – be beyond our taste, our experience – and we cheat ourselves of Life.

Surpassing holiness means striving, by God’s grace, to fight mediocrity, to flee from half-heartedness, to detest the minimum. But all this presupposes that we, like Cleophas and his companion, the travelers to Emmaus, are led by the Lord Himself in coming to know the depth of His word, the extravagant extent of His promises.

“To the one to whom much is given, much is required – do we fear that the “much” will be too much, too demanding and therefore complacently seek the less? Or, by God’s grace, do we open our hearts in trust, in desire to what the Lord Himself desires for us?