Nourished by the Bread of Life

John 6: 35-40
Acts 8:1b-8 / Psa 66

I am the bread of life.
(John 6:35)

Faith puts hope in the invisible,
‘Cause the visible leads to despair.
Jesus as Bread is conceivable
In the Eucharist that we all share.

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. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.  All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.  And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those He has given me, but raise them up at the last day.  For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:35-40)

Reflection

The words of our Lord confounded the Jews, who must have recalled the testimony of their ancestors during the time of Moses about the manna as the “bread from heaven” that saved the entire people of Israel from starving in the desert. (Exodus 16:4-15) So how could this son of the carpenter from Nazareth be the “bread that came down from heaven” as Jesus claimed Himself to be? This was indeed a defining moment the Jews who had been following Jesus, as it had been for the Israelites who were following Moses, and had grumbled for lack of food (and faith in Yahweh God).

Christians who question the validity of the Transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharistic celebration are like the Jews in today’s Gospel reading who could not see and believe the Bread of Life Who came down from heaven for mankind’s salvation. No different from some so-called exegetes who try to humanize the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish (the only miracle of Jesus contained in all the four Gospels) by citing that the real miracle that happened was when all the people brought out the food that they were hiding to share with all the others. How could they be so blind that they could not recognize a miracle of God which was plain for all to see?

Jesus declared that He was the bread of life, and “whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”  The feeding of the five thousand was only a simple demonstration of Christ’s compassion for the people who were following Him.  But the greater miracle is the divine plan of nourishing the souls of all who believe in Him – that we will never go hungry in faith and in hope – He will supply these graces; we will never thirst for love – for God is love, and if we believe in Jesus as our Bread of Life, we will never lack in the love of God and neighbors. That is why it is so important to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist as often as we possibly can. We must keep going back to the Spring of Life to sustain our faith, and live in the blissful hope that “I shall lose none of all those He has given me, but raise them up at the last day.  For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

We believe that You are always with us, Lord, in the breaking of the bread, when we receive You in the sacrifice of the Mass. As in the time of Moses in the desert when You saved your people from starvation, as in the time when bread was miraculously multiplied to feed the multitudes who followed You in the wilderness, so it is in all masses all over the world in the present, where you nourish our hungry souls. Amen.

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