Homily, Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Easter
“This is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life.” How can we see the Son of God today; how do we still see Jesus after He ascended into heaven? I often find myself thinking that it must have been much easier to believe in Christ for those who saw him 2000 years ago while He walked on the earth, to see the miracles, and to hear His teachings firsthand. But, we know from the Gospel accounts that many did see and hear Jesus at that time without believing in him.
In today’s Gospel reading, we begin the Bread of Life discourse from John’s Gospel. Jesus presents Himself to us as the answer to every desire of the human heart. He is the satisfaction for our most profound hunger and thirst, our thirst for divine love, for unending and unconditional love. By the end of the discourse, Jesus reveals that He is so madly in love with us, that He so wants to share His own life with us, that he will give us His own Flesh and Blood to eat and to drink. Many of those listening to Him at the time found this sort of thing to be a bit too much for them to stomach, so they stopped following Jesus. Even though they had seen His miracles and heard his teachings firsthand, when it became challenging, they were unwilling at that time to surrender in faith. They saw Jesus with their own eyes but not with the eyes of faith.
Almost 2000 years later, we can still see Jesus through the eyes of faith. We see him indirectly, but it is still the same Jesus, or rather, now it is the Jesus who died and rose from the dead, who is now seated in the glory of heaven. It is the Risen Christ whom we will see on this altar in the Eucharist under the appearances of bread and wine. It is the Risen Christ whom we see working in his brothers and sisters still today, just as Jesus worked through Philip and the early Christians in our first reading. For the Easter Vigil this year, I helped out at a house of the Missionaries of Charity. There, I got to meet a couple from India who became Catholic this Easter with all their kids. Their first real encounter with Christianity was simply seeing the Missionaries of Charity caring for the poor, but through the gift of faith, they were able to see the Risen Christ still at work in the world through these sisters. May the Lord strengthen us today in our own faith, that we might truly see the Risen Christ in this Eucharist and in one another, that we might receive with great love the Flesh and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion and allow others to see the Risen Christ through us as we go about our day.