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How Blind Am I?

Memorial of Saint Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr

First Reading: Acts 6:8-15

Stephen, filled with grace and power,
was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,
Cyreneans, and Alexandrians,
and people from Cilicia and Asia,
came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.
Then they instigated some men to say,
“We have heard him speaking blasphemous words
against Moses and God.”
They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes,
accosted him, seized him,
and brought him before the Sanhedrin.
They presented false witnesses who testified,
“This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law.
For we have heard him claim
that this Jesus the Nazorean will destroy this place
and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.”
All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him
and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30

R. (1ab) Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Though princes meet and talk against me,
your servant meditates on your statutes.
Yes, your decrees are my delight;
they are my counselors.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
I declared my ways, and you answered me;
teach me your statutes.
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous deeds.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Remove from me the way of falsehood,
and favor me with your law.
The way of truth I have chosen;
I have set your ordinances before me.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

Gospel: John 6:22-29

[After Jesus had fed the five thousand men, his disciples saw him walking on the sea.]
The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea
saw that there had been only one boat there,
and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat,
but only his disciples had left.
Other boats came from Tiberias
near the place where they had eaten the bread
when the Lord gave thanks.
When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
“Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered them and said,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me
not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”
So they said to him,
“What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”

NAB

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I remember my early encounters in reading the Gospel. I always found it ridiculous that these people who could see Jesus with their own eyes, who could hear His very voice speak to their own souls, who were in His earthly, physical presence not realize that this man was their saviour, true God and true Man.

Why were they not falling to their knees? Why were they not running and embracing Him? Why did they not understand? How could they not recognize Him?

In today’s Gospel we see those lucky 5000 following Jesus right after they were present for His multiplication of loaves. They were present at a very incredible miracle. And yet, as the Gospel describes it, they’re following Jesus today because they want more food, and hey, Jesus seems to make food happen, so all they have to do is stick around.

But Jesus confronts their self-serving attitude towards Him quickly. He says they are following Him not because they have faith in Him or even because of the miracle they witnessed, but because they had a good meal. How blind can these people be?!

But how blind can I be when I show up for Mass every week and not realize I am in the real presence of Christ just as those people in Galilee were during the multiplication of loaves? How blind am I that attend Mass out of habit or routine? How blind am I that I act as if going through the motions and receiving the Eucharist is all I need to do in order to be a good Catholic? How blind am I to the miracle that takes place in each and every Mass? How many times do I show up to Mass expecting just to be filled for the now—not thinking at all about the eternal consequences of Christ’s sacrifice?

How blind can I be?

And so if I put myself into the shoes of those people following Jesus looking for a decent meal I shouldn’t be so quick to jump to conclusions about how easy it was for the them to fail to recognize Christ. Because I fail to appreciate Jesus’ very presence at Mass and in the Eucharist pretty easily too.

Lord Jesus, help us to know You as the true Bread of Life. Help us to see and appreciate Your true presence at the Mass and in the Eucharist.

photo credit

Christy Isinger is the mom to five lovely, loud children living in the Canadian wilds. You can find out more about her here.

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