The Bread of Eternal Life

John 6: 30-35
Acts 7:51-8:1a / Ps 31

I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
(John 6:35)

What good are these bodies well fed
If our souls are undernourished?
It is Jesus the living Bread
Who feeds us in the Eucharist.

So they asked Jesus, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:30-35)

Reflection

The Jews in Jesus’ time could not comprehend what He meant by the “Bread of Life” even though they had witnessed and had even eaten the bread that was multiplied thousands of times to feed them. When they said, “Sir, always give us this bread,” they were thinking that Jesus had a magical kind of bread that would just multiply and never run out. They did not understand that Jesus was talking about Himself.

Our Lord was not talking in riddles. First of all, He merely wanted to test His disciples who had already seen His miraculous powers — if they would still remain with Him, and keep faith with Him even if they could not figure out what He was talking about. But the more important reason was because His words were actually meant to be read and understood by future generations of Christians all over the world, and not just by a few hundred Jews during His short lifetime. That is why we are more fortunate than the Jews because we have a clearer perspective and deeper insight into the words of our Lord Jesus, His divine nature and His selfless mission.

The disciples of Jesus who walked with Him on the road to Emmaus recognized Him in the breaking of the bread. In the same way, we recognize our Lord and Savior in the breaking of the Bread in the Eucharistic table when the celebrant declares, “This is my body, which will be given up for you.” As we celebrate His Great Sacrifice for our redemption, He continues to feed our souls, so that we may never again go hungry in faith and hope, and never go thirsty in love for God and for others. Whenever we receive Him as the Living Bread from heaven, we are always reminded of the fulfillment of His promise before He ascended into heaven, that He would always be with us “until the end of the age” (Mt.28:20).

Going to Mass and receiving Jesus should be the most precious times of the week for us. Here we do not receive “food that perishes, but the food that endures for eternal life,” (Jn. 6:27) Who is no other than our Lord, Jesus Christ.

May we always give praise and thanks to You, dear God, during the celebration of the Holy Mass, where we are constantly nourished and purified by the Body and Blood of Your Beloved Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom we have attained our eternal life. Amen.

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