Today’s readings; the first and the Gospel speak powerfully of the Lord’s compelling message. In many places today, there is a tendency to feel we need to “craft” Jesus’ message in a way that is palatable for people to want to believe, rather than to speak the Lord’s Word and that we be drawn to God by it. Sometimes, perhaps with good intentions we “water down” or “colour” the Gospel so that others may believe. The Word made Flesh, the Bread of Life speaks boldly yet powerfully Himself.
In the account of Philip’s conversation with the Ethiopian eunuch today we hear of an open heart receiving the Word of God and professing what we need profess for baptism; I believe – “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”. This ties nicely with the Gospel where Jesus reminds us as we await, that He is “the Bread of Life”; manna given to us to feed us from heaven.
It was my experience many years ago now (around 16 in fact) as I began to seek to understand and find meaning and purpose in my life to be led to the water. It was then, and only then that I was open enough to come to know God through His Son Jesus Christ. Before that, nothing could convince me and I wasn’t open or receptive enough to be convinced. When I began my faith journey, a journey of discovery, I looked for a brand of Christianity that was palatable for me, simply because I wanted to have some faith but not all of it. I didn’t really want my life to change that much for a variety of reasons. It was an authentic journey and a search for God. In a spirit of openness, I came to understand that I could not pick and choose and if I was going to live for Christ, I had to die to myself in many ways, at least in the desires and direction I was taking in my life. I could not really be a lukewarm or “cafeteria” Christian, because I either was or I was not. My prayer, openness and receptivity and the Presence of God came together for me as I was drawn into communion and led me to reception in the Catholic Church. Out of that was born my vocation – priesthood – a calling which I never sought nor felt in my heart before I had a relationship with Jesus Christ. But here I am, and I am only one story. There are many, many others who have been drawn by the true message of the Gospel, the Bread of Life not sugar-coated, watered down, not made to be palatable or acceptable so more might choose to follow it.
The Gospel stands for itself, it is very Good News which if we hear it, are open to it, follow it will revive, restore, renew and recreate our lives. It did mine, and in it I know I have found the true meaning of life, and the purpose the Lord Himself put me here in the world for; a meaning and purpose which I am continuing to discover each and every day.