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

May 9, 2019

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO [1]

3rd Thursday of Easter Time
Acts 8: 26-40; John 6:44-51

In the reading from Acts, we heard how, at the instruction of an angel, Philip set out for the desert. The messenger must have the ability to discern pathways where others only see obstacles, to recognize potential where others see only threats. Going out into the desert, Philip came upon the Ethiopian eunuch and showed him the path to freedom and life. This eunuch’s search led him to the pearl of great price. Philip believed in the Ethiopian’s ability to share in the everlasting life won by Christ’ victory over sin and death. The truth is that Jesus Christ is alive and wants all men to be alive. Constant exercise of faith in Christ is the most important and difficult part of the obedience required from us, as sinners seeking salvation. When by his grace we are enabled to live a life of faith in the Son of God, holy tempers follow, and acceptable services may be done. Fraternal love multiplies our ability to experience joy since it makes us rejoice in the good of others. In the words of Romano Guardini, “when we experience a great love… everything else becomes part of it”.

God gave his people bread from heaven to sustain them on their journey to the Promised Land. Jesus, the Beloved Son came down from heaven to become the Bread of Life for all who would journey to the kingdom of life. The victory of Christ over sin and death is as challenging for us today as it was to the eunuch who was taught by Philip. The same message of divine love and infinite mercy echo in each of our hearts. The eunuch’s journey of faith is also our own. At times it is clouded by confusion and doubt: the beauty of creation by the tragedy of sin; liberation from slavery by infidelity to the covenant; the promises of the prophets by the listless indifference of the people.

At those times, life becomes a succession of challenges and failures that cause us to grow sick in spirit and befuddled in mind. At those times we prefer to remain alone in the darkness of our heart than to open ourselves to the Lord. But it is at those times that God asks us to look at life as he does. In each of us, he sees an irrepressible kernel of beauty. Christ’s outstretched arms on the cross are the everlasting sign that he is a friend who is willing to stop at nothing to save us.

We must keep our eyes fixed on the outstretched arms of Christ and allow ourselves to be saved over and over again.  He and He alone is the one who fills us with his grace, the one who liberates us, the one who transforms us, and the one who heals and consoles us. In his loving-kindness, he takes the strands of our triumphs as well as our failures and weaves them together into a beautiful tapestry. The Incarnate Word of God shapes the one who is available, the one who hears the word and is baptized, and the one who feeds upon the Bread of Life.

The salvation that God offers us is an invitation to be part of a never-ending love story. This story wants to be born in our hearts so that we can bear fruit just as we are, wherever we are and with whomever we are with.