John 6 Day 2

Day 2: Saturday, April 13th

John 6:16-21

Fr. Reutter’s reflection

After Jesus flees the crowd, we now see His disciples returning across the sea. They were certainly experienced sailors (some of them were fishermen by trade after all) but still the storms that can whip up on the Sea of Galilee can frighten even the most skillful navigators, especially at night.

On top of that, they see something which seems impossible: a man walking on the storm-tossed waters.

They do not recognize Jesus until He reveals Himself: “It is really Me! Do not be afraid.”

We can imagine their joy and relief, as their fear melts away.

St. John records an interesting detail after the Lord gets into the boat: the minute He does so, the boat arrives at its destination, with no effort required by them to sail the rest of the way.

There is a lot packed into this short scene that we can reflect on in light of the Eucharist.

First, the miracle of walking on the water reminds us that Jesus is Lord of all creation. Even though He created all things with a certain natural and predictable order (such as the law of gravity which means a man will sink if he tries to walk on water), He has the power to “suspend” or “override” the laws which He Himself created. He created all things out of nothing, so He can certainly take what He created and transform it.

This is important if we are to believe in the miracle of the Eucharist. How can what starts out as bread completely cease to be bread? Or what starts out as wine, cease to be wine? The answer is certainly that it can’t -- by our human power. But it can by the Divine Power of Jesus Christ through Him all things were created.

Maybe more importantly are His words, “It is I! It is truly Me. Do not be afraid! For over 2,000 years, the Lord speaks the same words to us every time we witness the consecration at Holy Mass. “It is I! Don’t be afraid! I am truly with you!”

The fact that Jesus allows the boat to be at its destination by His own power reminds us that it is by God’s grace that we “reach our destination” -- that is – that we can get to Heaven, fed along the way by the Bread from Heaven. It is ours only to resolve to “stay in the boat” -- remain in the Church, living the life of the sacraments (including confession) and following her teaching – so that by the Lord’s goodness, we can find that eternal happiness that the Eucharist promises us.

Take home point: There are a lot of things in life that cause us to be afraid, as we look at the chaos in the world around us. We could certainly make a long list which might include wars raging in Europe and the Middle East, cultural elites trying to shove evil things down our throats like the killing of innocent babies and “transitioning” children to the opposite sex. Sometimes things much closer to home make us afraid (financial troubles, family conflicts, diseases we are struggling with and much more).

In the middle of all those, the Lord gives us His divine encouragement, every time we witness the consecration. Do not be afraid!

When we come to holy Mass, as we prepare, we might pray about what we are afraid of, and offer it to the Lord as the priest offers the gifts of bread of wine. When we do so, we might ask the Lord to hear His promise in the priest’s words, “This is my Body given up for you!” that no storm in our life can prevent Him from bringing us to our Heavenly destination.