Monday of the Third Week Of Easter
When the people saw Jesus 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.”
“One does not live on bread alone.” So what does one live on? What makes life worth living?
Life can be lived in two ways: With the Lord or without the Lord. If I choose to live my life with the Lord, then everything I say and do is elevated to perfection. Nothing is “common.” Nothing is “routine.” Nothing is “insignificant.” Nothing is “boring.” All my senses are peaked and heightened to the eternal. All things become new. All things become Holy.
Eat. Jesus said to them, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them” (cf. John 6:53-56).
As you can see, even the finest and choicest of eaters are actually settling for crumbs when they deny themselves the meal prepared for them by the Lord. How sad. How impolite, for I was always taught never to refuse a poor man’s meal.
Work. “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.” As I have mentioned hundreds of times before, belief in God is more than lip service. It is a way of life.
We work. We work very hard. Not all of us enjoy our work. But I do. I love what I do. I love my job not because it is easy or because the pay is out of this world, but because it is meaningful. I can’t even begin to imagine going back to what I used to do or working for whom I worked for. I love what I do because it is eternal. I even love what I do because who I work for is eternal. I love what I do because I love my boss. I have a great boss!
Who do you work for? Who or what do you live for? “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life.” No matter what I do for a living, I can always work for the Lord. No matter how many business trips I have to make, I can be an Apostle of the Lord. No matter what you do, deliver His message, whether or not it is convenient or inconvenient. Even a used car salesman can sell the Lord!
We know that all things pass away, only Heaven remains. So Heaven is not only the hope in our lives, it is also the very foundation of our lives, for when all things disappear or turn into dust or smoke, only Heaven remains.
Sleep. Sleep not only relaxes the body and mind, it also elevates them, for it is only when I fall into the deepest of sleeps that dreams are possible. Dreams are remarkable, but not always wonderful.
A few days ago a mom told me that her daughter had a dream about her youngest sibling who wants to be a pilot. In her dream she saw her little sister’s plane blow up in midair. When she told her mom and sister about this, the girl asked if she could tell, from her dream, what she was wearing and what kind of plane she was flying. When her mother confessed her fears, the young girl responded, saying “Why does someone’s bad dream mean I can’t realize my own dream?”
Sleep is essential for a healthy mind and body, but it is also essential for a healthy soul. Sleep reminds us of our death and resurrection. Yes, there will come a time when I am no longer; when the world will continue to turn without me. There will come a time when the darkness overpowers me, but the light shall return and restore me.
Die. “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces much fruit” (Jn 12:24).
This morning I celebrated Mass in a school chapel. The individual who read the first reading must have been exhausted (probably due to too much studying). They read today’s inspiring first reading (Acts 6:8-15) as if it were a court document. They turned St. Stephen’s life and death into a very boring account. Imagine for a moment if I had read their accomplishments the same way! Let’s never do unto others what we would never want done to us!
To die is not only a rite of passage but the transforming of one’s life into one’s fruits. Christ’s death brought life to His Apostles. It also brought flesh and blood to His words and actions. St. Stephen, filled with grace and power, brought life to Christ’s words. He worked great wonders and signs among the people, but his greatest feat was his death (his sacrifice) for the Lord. It meant he truly believed, valued and appreciated every word that came forth from the mouth of God.
Resolution: One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.