Memory of the Church

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Memorial of St. Adelbert, bishop of Prague. He suffered martyrdom in eastern Prussia where he had gone to preach the Gospel (†997). He spent time in Rome, where his memory is venerated in the basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Tiberine Island.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 6, 44-51

'No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me, and I will raise that person up on the last day.

It is written in the prophets: They will all be taught by God; everyone who has listened to the Father, and learnt from him, comes to me.

Not that anybody has seen the Father, except him who has his being from God: he has seen the Father.

In all truth I tell you, everyone who believes has eternal life.

I am the bread of life.

Your fathers ate manna in the desert and they are dead;

but this is the bread which comes down from heaven, so that a person may eat it and not die.

I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel continues to present Jesus’ discourse in the synagogue of Capernaum. At the beginning, Jesus makes it clear that no one can understand his mystery without the faith that the Father himself gives. Faith, therefore, is not the fruit of the efforts of people, even those who practice a virtuous life. Faith has its beginning in God: “No one can come to me - Jesus says - unless drawn by the Father who sent me.” This coming to Jesus is not a purely intellectual issue and is not even the issue of a group organized for some purpose. We go to Jesus with the attraction of the mind and of the heart, with conviction and passion. Faith is a matter of total love and of engaging commitment. And this happens in different ways, but all require an encounter with Jesus that may be mediated by a brother, a sister, the poor, or by an experience of prayer and by listening to the Gospel. The free quotation that Jesus shares from the prophet Isaiah (54:13) - “They shall all be taught by God” - recalls the primacy of listening in the realm of faith. Jesus suggests that the encounter with God occurs in a very special way by listening with availability to his Word. In his words, in fact, there is an attractive force: they expand the mind and the heart, place us in the great plan of God for the world, and bring us closer to Jesus, to his heart, to his mind; they allow us to participate in the very action of Jesus among human beings. Thus, Jesus states, “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me” - that is, discovers the meaning of life and receives the nourishment that sustains without faltering or weakening. It is really hard to think that God may show himself through the weakness of the words of the Gospel, that we may touch his love and each other through the love of his children. It may seem more natural to look elsewhere, in apparently more solid certainties, in the nourishment for our lives, and in the certainties and affections that promise to guarantee us happiness and support. This is actually an illusion; we all know the finiteness and the weakness of human things. It is much better to place our trust instead in a God who chose the words of a man to express his Word, who chose the weak sacramental signs to give us his strength. There is no need of superhuman efforts to be able to understand the things of heaven. Those who want to know God should know his Son. Jesus makes it clear that no one has seen the Father except through him. And he will say to Philip, “Who ever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). Those who want to understand the mystery of God need to meet Jesus and let their heart be touched by His Word, by the Gospel. Those who hear this word are attracted to God and receive the bread of eternity, as Jesus clearly says, “I am the bread of life. Those who come to me will never be hungry and those who believe in me will never be thirsty!” It is this mystery that we experience every time we participate in the Eucharistic Liturgy, when the eyes of our hearts open as they did for the two disciples. It is the way of the believers to meet the Risen One.