Thursday, May 12, 2011

They Shall All be Taught By God

In today's Gospel (John 6: 44-51), Jesus uses this quote from Isaiah as the foundation for the teaching that He is the Bread of Life. By beginning with the point that "they shall all be taught by God" and then teaching them, He is claiming a legitimacy that is uniquely His. But what about us? What are we to take from this passage?
I believe that, if we think about it, our faith was really taught to us be God through others. Our parents, catechists, priests - so many people have taught us in the name of God. And it cannot end there. We too have an obligation to pass on those teachings to others.
The first reading for today's Mass is the story about Philip and his encounter with the Ethiopian official, the treasurer of the Queen of Ethiopia in fact (Acts 8: 26-40). This man was taught by Philip and then, seeing water, asked to be and was indeed Baptized. We do not know much about what happened to him, only that he continued on his journey "rejoicing". I wonder how many people he taught about Jesus? And who did they teach? How many millions of people throughout history have been "taught by God" because of this encounter?
If it were possible, every one of us could trace our faith back through the decades, centuries and millenia to one of those who actually heard it from Christ, like Philip. And that chain, unbroken through almost 2,000 years, will continue because of us.
So the question is - whom have you taught? To whom have you passed on faith? After all, they cannot be "taught by God" unless we cooperate with Him, since we are called to be His voice, proclaiming the Truth to all we encounter. You have been taught by God, sisters and brothers. Pass it on!

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