Immersed in Christ: April 24, 2020
Friday, Second Week of Easter
The Responsorial (Psalm 27) tells us what each one is expressing during the Presentation of Gifts: “One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord”.
Acts 5: 34-42 gives us what is known as “the principle of Gamaliel”:
If this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them — in that case you may even be found fighting against God!”
This says that what God inspires people to do will not fail because of external opposition or lack of human resources. God’s word achieves its end:
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth... giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Jesus pointed out in the “Parable of the Sower” that God’s word does not always bear fruit. But it only fails because of an internal failure of faith, hope or love in those who deliver or receive the message. 1
We express our faith in this principle every time we bring up the insignificant elements of bread and wine during the Presentation of Gifts, counting on them to become the mystery, the sacrifice that redeems the world. From a human point of view, isn’t it ridiculous to think that a few pieces of bread and a cup of wine can achieve what all the money, talent, weapons and technological wizardry of the world cannot achieve? But we believe it. Because this bread “will become for us the Bread of Life.”
For whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. 2
The Apostles, sentenced to be flogged,
left the presence of the Sanhedrin rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer for the sake of the Name. And day after day, both in the temple and at home, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news of Jesus the Messiah.
If faith is alive, we will conquer. If we are conquering, our faith must be alive.
In John 6: 1-15 the “multiplication of the loaves” depended on Jesus having some loaves to multiply. He didn’t just produce them out of thin air.
He could have. But God has chosen and is still choosing to save the world with the help of the humans being saved. This saves our dignity as free persons and God’s reputation as Creator. No matter how bad we are, our human nature is basically good and capable of cooperating freely with God.
Without the Presentation of Gifts there would not be any Eucharistic Prayer. If we don’t present the bread — and ourselves as represented by it — the Bread of Life will not become present.
When the people “saw the sign Jesus had done,” they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Our task as “prophets in the Prophet” is to live in a way that shows Jesus is still in the world. We are empowered to do this by the “gift of the Spirit.”
Initiative: Live the impossible dream. Show that with God all things are possible.
1 Isaiah 55:9-11; Matthew 13:3-33. 2 1 John 5:4.