3rd Week of Easter, Wednesday

Readings: Acts 8:1b–8; Psalm 66:1–3a, 4–7a; John 6:35–40.

In today’s Gospel Our Lord invites the crowds, and invites us, to consider our path from here to eternity. We’re all going to live forever; the question is what that eternal life will be like. Our Lord wants us to live contentedly forever, and he expresses that through describing a life where we never hunger again, never thirst again. This hunger and thirst go beyond simple food and drink: contentment means we have everything we’d ever want or need.

We start on that path here and now, and Jesus doesn’t delude us: as we walk this path we’ll still hunger, still thirst. There’ll be trials and difficulties, and we will physically die sooner or later. By becoming flesh he walked that same path to encourage us from here to eternity. In the end he will raise us up, and if we believed in him we’ll live contentedly with him forever. Just as we need physical nourishment to live, he provides us with spiritual nourishment, the Eucharist, to help us along the way, to keep us strong, and to accompany us.

In the light of eternity, where we measure everything we experience in the light of forever, all the trials of this life, great and small, seem brief compared to the eternal joy that is to come. As the First Reading reminds us today, God can make good come out of the worst trials and setbacks if we believe in him. Let’s lift our gaze today from the immediate and pressing needs that surround us and consider the path that Our Lord invites us to walk with him, trusting that he’ll guide us through all of life’s ups and downs if we believe in him.

2nd Week of Easter,Wednesday

Readings: Acts 5:17–26; Psalm 34:2–9; John 3:16–21.

Today’s Gospel continues the thread of yesterday’s to a certain degree: if you don’t trust a witness, you don’t trust his testimony. If God is not worthy of trust, then it is no surprise that his gestures toward us would be interpreted in a negative light: he’d be seen as someone imposing things on our lifestyle and condemning us if our life is not in accordance with his will.

If I was sliding down a slope toward a nasty fall, or trapped down in the bottom of a pit, and Our Lord appeared up top with a rope, what would I think? Has he come to rescue me or to tie me up? Our Lord draws close to us in order to save us, often from ourselves. Many times we don’t even realize that we are down in a hole or sliding down a slippery slope, and the fact that he draws near in that moment is not only to warn us, but to give us the opportunity to be rescued: Our Lord warns us about the dangers of sin and offers to rescue us, if we allow it.

Our Lord invites us today to step out of the darkness and come into the light not only to come clean, but to save us. If we acknowledge God as a Savior and not as the superficial caricature of someone always condemning and infringing on our life without lifting a finger to help, we also acknowledge something about ourselves: that we haven’t lived as good or as holy a life as we should have, and that we need his help to change, not just because it is pleasing to God, but also because it is good for us. Let’s reach out to God today by stepping out more into the light and accepting his help to live a better, holier, and happier life.


Holy Week, Wednesday

Readings: Isaiah 50:4–9a; Psalm 69:8–10, 21–22, 31, 33–34; Matthew 26:14–25

Today in the past has been called Spy Wednesday because today, in the logic of Holy Week and the readings, Judas goes out to make a deal with the Pharisees at the expense of Jesus. In Matthew’s account of the Last Supper Our Lord says something that would be sad on anyone’s lips, but is chilling when it comes from the lips of God about one of his creations: “It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” Judas not only turned his back on his God, his Creator, his best friend, but he betrayed him. The other apostles, despite their failings and frailties to be seen over the next few days, are remembered as saints and apostles; Judas is remembered with infamy as the betrayer. Neither are forgotten, but what different sentiments their memories evoke.

How do you want to be remembered? As a part of the joyful and fond memories of many friends and hearing those blessed words from your Creator, “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21) or with sadness and pity as someone who failed in life where it really mattered–loving God and loving others–and making people wonder whether it would’ve been better for you if you’d not lived at all? It is in your hands.