How do we do our best to listen to Jesus and to follow Him? Today’s saint, Damien de Veuster, known by many as St. Damien of Molokai, might help us with this question. Saint Damien of Molokai was born in Belgium in 1840, and was sent to the Hawaiian Islands after joining the Congregation of the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Today, most people would consider this an excellent assignment … and it was as he served as a parish priest for nine years. But the course of his life and countless others would forever change when he volunteered to become a chaplain, serving people on the remote island of Molokai, which was home to a leper colony.
Just as in yesterday’s gospel, where Jesus proclaims that He is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life, today’s gospel of John is often heard at Funeral Masses in the form of the hymn titled: "I Am the Bread of Life." In the hymn, there is a reassurance from Jesus that if we come to Him, we will not hunger, and we will not thirst and that He will raise us up on the last day. Why is it, that so often in life, we can satisfy our physical hunger and thirst, and yet not our deeper needs?
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In today’s gospel, we heard Philip say, "Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us." In reading and praying over this gospel, what struck me was Philip’s request to see the Father, to prove that Jesus is who He claims to be - and that will be enough…he even uses the word "us" to show he’s speaking for the group.
Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles describes an incredibly cohesive and charitable way of living, including selflessly not claiming any possession of one's own. It all begins with the foundation that the "Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all." The result: there was no needy person among them. Imagine a parish, town, city, or nation like that!
Yesterday, the Boston Marathon took place, and thousands of runners of all ages and abilities attempted to run from Hopkinton to the finish line on Boylston Street in Boston as fast as they could. If you asked all but a few elite runners, the main objective was to complete the 26.2 miles and cross that finish line, not to win or place in the race.
There’s a man my mom and I see from time to time walking our dog at Stonehill. And, whenever we ask him how’s he’s doing he’ll always say, "living the dream!" Well, that’s not quite the response of the Israelites from today’s reading. However, in a way, you can sympathize with the Israelites, it’s been a long and difficult journey, without any end in sight.