Saturday - Easter Time
1) Opening prayer
also in our day we need men and women
filled with the Spirit of love and service
who are attentive to the needs of people.
Let them listen even to the unspoken cries
of people too timid to voice
their poverty and distress
and help without condescension
their brothers and sisters of Christ,
for he is our Lord for ever.
Reading - John 6,16-21
That evening the disciples went down to the shore
of the sea and got into a boat to make for Capernaum on the other side of the
sea. It was getting dark by now and Jesus had still not rejoined them. The wind
was strong, and the sea was getting rough.
They had rowed
three or four miles when they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming towards
the boat. They were afraid, but he said, 'It's me. Don't be afraid.' They were
ready to take him into the boat, and immediately it reached the shore at the
place they were making for.
• Today’s Gospel narrates the episode of
the boat on the agitated sea. Jesus is on the mountain, the disciples in
the sea and the people on the land. In the way of describing the
facts, John tries to help the communities to discover the mystery which
envelopes the person of Jesus. He does it by recalling texts from the Old
Testament which refer to the Exodus.
• At the time when John wrote, the small
boat of the communities had to face a contrary wind both on the part of the
converted Jews who wanted to reduce the mystery of Jesus to prophecies and
figures of the Old Testament, and on the part of some converted Pagans who
thought that it was possible to have an alliance between Jesus and the Empire.
• John 6, 15: Jesus on the mountain.
In the face of the multiplication of the loaves, the people conclude that Jesus
is the awaited Messiah, because according to the hope of the people of the
time, the Messiah would have repeated the gesture of Moses: feeding in the
people in the desert. For this reason, according to the official ideology, the
crowds thought that Jesus was the Messiah, and, because of this, they wanted to
make him King (cf. Jn 6, 14-15). This request of the people was a temptation
for Jesus as well as for the disciples. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus obliges the
disciples to get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side of the lake
(MK 6, 45). He wanted to avoid that they get contaminated with the dominating
ideology. This is a sign that the “yeast of Herod and of the Pharisees”, was
very strong (Mk 8, 15). Jesus faces the temptation with prayer on the mountain.
• John 6, 16-18: The situation of the
disciples. It was already night. The disciples went down near the sea; they
got into the boat and directed themselves toward Capernaum, on the other side
of the sea. John says that it was already dark and that Jesus had not arrived
as yet. On the one hand he recalls the Exodus: to cross the sea in the midst of
difficulties. On the other, he recalls the situation of the communities in the
Roman Empire: with the disciples, they were living in the dark, with a contrary
wind and the sea was agitated and Jesus seemed to be absent!
• John 6, 19-20. Change of the
situation. Jesus reaches them walking on the water of the sea of life. The
disciples are afraid. As it happens in the account of the story of Emmaus, they
did not recognize him (Lk 24, 28). Jesus gets close to them and says: “It is
me! Do not be afraid!” For those who know the story of the Old Testament,
here again he recalls some very important facts: (a) He recalls the crowd,
protected by God, crossed the Red Sea without fear. (b) He recalls that God,
when calling Moses, he declares his name saying: “I am!” (cf. Ex 3, 15).
(c) He recalls also the Book of Isaiah which presents the return from exile as
a new Exodus, in which God appears repeating many times: “I am!” (cf. Is
42, 8; 43, 5.11-13; 44, 6.25; 45, 5-7).
• For the People of the Bible, the sea was
the symbol of the abyss, of chaos, of evil (Ap 13, 1). In Exodus the People
goes across toward liberty, facing and conquering the sea. God divides the sea
with his breath and the crowds cross the sea which is dry land. (Ex 14, 22). In
other passages the Bible shows God who conquers the sea (Gen 1, 6-10; Ps 104,
6-9; Pro 8, 27). To conquer the sea means to impose one’s own limits and to
prevent that it swallows all the earth with its waves. In this passage Jesus
reveals his divinity by dominating and conquering the sea, preventing the boat
and his disciples to be carried away by the waves. This way of evoking or
recalling the Old Testament, of using the Bible, helped the communities to
perceive better the presence of God in Jesus and in the facts of life. Do
not be afraid!
• John 6, 22. They reached the desired
port. They want to take Jesus into the boat, but it was not necessary,
because the boat touched the shore to which they had directed themselves. They
reached the desired port. The Psalm says: “He reduced the storm to calm, and
all the waters subsided. He brought them overjoyed at the stillness, to the
port where they were bound”. (Ps 107, 29-30).
4) Personal questions
• On the mountain: Why does Jesus seek to
be alone to pray after the multiplication of the loaves? Which is the result of
• Is it possible today to walk on the water
of the sea of life? How?
5) Concluding Prayer
Shout for joy,
well from the honest.
Give thanks to
Yahweh on the lyre,
play for him on the ten-stringed lyre. (Ps 33,1-2)