The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Monday of the Third Week of Easter is John 6:22-29.

In John Chapter 6, Christ mysteriously reveals the astounding truth of the Eucharist, the Bread of Life.  After preparing the Apostles by the miraculous Feeding of the 5000 and the further demonstration of His Divinity by walking on water, Christ now prepares to give the Sermon on The Bread of Life (John 6:30-59), the truth that the Eucharist is truly Christ’s Body and Blood.

The day after the Feeding of the 5000, the multitude of people are perplexed for they realize the Apostles left without Christ and they sail to Capernaum in attempt to find Christ. Finding Christ on the other side and not knowing that Christ miraculously walked on water, the people ask Christ how He got there. Christ knows that the primary reason the people have followed is because they are physically hungry. Christ cuts to the quick, rebuking their misplaced curiosity, focus on worldly food and failure to recognize Christ’s miraculous signs.

While certainly understanding the need for bodily nourishment, Christ turns people’s attention to the essential need to make the pilgrimage towards eternal life one’s top priority. Christ confirms that the work (“labor”) of faith is to obtain supernatural food (the Eucharist) to prepare for eternal life.  Christ, the Son of Man who is designated by the Father by a seal (Christ’s Baptism), will freely give them this eternal food. Consistent the Jewish belief that one must do the voluminous pious works described in the Torah (First five books of the Old Testament) to obtain salvation, the people ask Christ to narrow things down, perhaps realizing that keeping the 613 commandments of the Old Testament was impossible. Christ mysteriously previews the New Covenant, which He will fully reveal at the Last Supper (Matt 26:28): to receive eternal life, men must believe in Christ as the Son of God the Father.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ confounds people by His ability to mysteriously cross the sea without a boat. Son of Man, Christ is sealed by God the Father with Divine Power. Divine Teacher, Christ is recognized as a great rabbi. Divine King, Christ rebukes men for their errant thinking and motivations.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) The miracle of Christ’s walking on water is confirmed by the crowd, who can’t figure out how Christ got across the Sea of Galilee without a boat. Be awed.

2) Christ rebukes men who fail to recognize His “signs”; a “sign” is a act or physical thing that points to a greater spiritual reality that allows the faithful to enter more fully into the mystery of Christ. Reflect upon Gestures (e.g. every single movement you make) during the Mass (CCC 1146, 1189, 1387) and pray for Christ to help your holy gestures (e.g. silent prayer, holding your hands in prayer, kneeling, your gaze at the Tabernacle, etc.) be “signs” that help others grow in awe of the Eucharist.

3) No matter how far or how many times a Catholic man falls into mortal sin, he has been given the guarantee that the Holy Spirit is with him, drawing him back to Christ. During Easter, renew your understanding of the Indelible Seal given in Baptism and Confirmation (CCC 698, 1296) and pray for Christ to help you more fully rely on the Holy Spirit in your pilgrimage of faith.