From a Creighton Student's Perspective
May 10, 2011
1st Year Dental Student
These words from Jesus at the end of today’s Gospel reading are at the very core of our faith. I have heard them referenced so many times, in sermons, songs, and various other places, that I think I have become numb to them. Perhaps that’s why I chose to focus on this particular phrase today. I want to bring those words back to life in my own heart.
It’s interesting that the story of Stephen, Christianity’s first martyr, is a companion to Christ’s revealing himself as “the bread of life,” beyond even the manna that God sent the Hebrews in the desert. There are a few common threads between the two readings, as well as the psalm, that I think are worthwhile to point out. First of all there is a poignant reminder for us of Good Friday and Christ’s crucifixion via the last words uttered by Stephen during his stoning, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Those words resonate with the crucified image of Christ victorious as the Bread of Life, our Savior, the Forgiver of Sins. Forgiveness is one of the very fundamental aspects of our faith, and I think that it is also at the heart of these readings.
Jesus becomes the Bread of Life by willingly surrendering his spirit to his Father in Heaven. That lifting of spirit is a common thread between all three of today’s scripture passages. It is not a symbol of defeat or giving up, rather, the sacrifice of one’s spirit is an act of supreme faith and love. That love is manifested in the form of forgiveness.
We are all constantly called to lift our own spirits to God by living through the Bread of Life, forgiving and loving each other as God does for us. Perhaps in doing so we can move beyond the various hungers and thirsts of the world, stepping ever closer to a life in solidarity with one another and Christ.
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