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MONDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK OF EASTER MAY 2, 2022 MEMORIAL OF ST ATHANASIUS, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH



A reading of the holy Gospel according to Jn 6:22-29


[After Jesus had fed the five thousand men, his disciples saw him walking on the sea.] The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat, but only his disciples had left. Other boats came from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread when the Lord gave thanks. When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. And when they found him across the sea they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered them and said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.” So they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”


REFLECTION

Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.


We have all heard of the "ripple effect"--you drop a rock in the water and you see the ripples on the water expanding across the water. During the time of St Athanasius , Archbishop of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church, the Arian heresy impact on Christianity had a similar even more profound effect.


Arius, a theologian and priest of the Church of Baukalis, stirred up a great controversy in the Church when he said Jesus Christ was created and finite, but not of equal divinity with the Father. He expounded that Jesus, the Word of God, is not eternal. Arian heresy was the first of the great heresies. It arose in the fourth century and denied the Divinity of Jesus Christ. It held that Jesus was created by God as the first act of creation. The fourth century Arian bishop of Milan, Auxentius, advocated that Jesus was created and not begotten.


St Athanasius defended the true faith. At the age of 21 he wrote his treatise on the Incarnation and preached on the redemptive work of Jesus. Present at the Council of Nicaea, the true doctrine of the Church was promulgated and subscribed via the Nicene Creed. Arius was excommunicated. However, the Arian bishop of Nicomedia, Eusebius, argued that Arian should be back in communion but Bishop Athanasius refused. Because of his arguments with them, especially his defense of the Creed of the Council of Nicaea, false claims about him were presented and eventually he was banished. And for 17 years he was in exile. He died in 373 and was one of the first non martyrs or confessors, to be venerated as a saint.


St Athanasius tirelessly worked defending the truth of Christ's divinity against the Arian heresy. He chose to not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. He worked long grueling years, though spiritually with joy and hope. He encountered the Living God and as a good priest and disciple he worked courageously in spite of opposition.


PAPA prays for priests to be on fire for Jesus and His Church, the Body and Bride of Christ. May St Athanasius be a good example on persevering fire. Join in praying the PAPA prayer for priest.


"Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!"

(Psalm 119).


God Bless You.


* Source: Butler's Book of Saints, Catholic answers, catholic news agency










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