Hunger for the Bread of Life

John 6: 52- 59
Acts 9:1-20 / Ps 117

Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.
(John 6:53)

Nothing nourishes more than Jesus,
And as precious as His Word we’re fed.
In Scriptures we receive His Good News,
In the Eucharist our Daily Bread.

The Jews disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food, and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” These things He said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. (John 6:52-59)

Reflection

Jesus had just performed the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fish, which was not only an expression of His compassion for the hungry multitude that followed Him, but more importantly, to prefigure God’s gift of the Holy Eucharist to future generations of Christians. Unfortunately, many of His disciples, in spite of the signs that He showed, would later leave Him because they could not understand His words (Jn. 6:66). The same can be said today of many Christians who have chosen to leave the Catholic Church because they could not accept the doctrine of transubstantiation, wherein we believe the Bread of Life was truly initiated in the Last Supper when He commanded, “Do this in memory of me” (Luke 22:19). It is only in the light of this mystery that we come to understand the words of Jesus when He said, “…unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food, and my blood is real drink.

In the Mass, the mystery of the Eucharist is relived every second of everyday all over the world without losing its essence and meaning. The Word of God, which is also part of the liturgy of the Mass, is likewise read and heard just as often, throughout our lives, delivering God’s message to us in many different ways. A day will never be the same without receiving the Bread of Life and the Word of God. His Bread and His Word give us life, nourishing our spirits. Our spiritual life can never last long without them. Jesus is inviting us to take His Flesh and Blood and His Word into the very essence of our being. The life that He offers is the very life of God Himself. Like the multitudes in Jesus’ time, our spirits always hunger for the Bread of Life.

We praise you, Lord God eternal. Your Flesh and Blood and Your Word will nourish us all the days of our lives, until the end of time. Amen.

One Response to “Hunger for the Bread of Life”

  1. p160  on May 16th, 2011

    Do you understand the 4th Cup?

    After the beginning of Jesus’ Last Passover Supper (Seder) Judas Iscariot left to do what he had to do. The twelve left in the room were at the point where the second of four traditional cups was about to be drunk.

    (The first is at the beginning of the Seder meal.) Jesus took the cup and gave thanks and gave it to them and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.”

    More of the lamb meal was consumed. During that He took a loaf of unleavened bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to His disciples saying, “This IS my body given for you; do this to recall me.” (“Recall” is a better translation of the Greek “anamnesis” than “remember”.)

    After the supper He took the third cup saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This IS my blood of the NEW and everlasting covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

    A hymn was sung, which is a combination of several psalms called The Great Hallel, and they went out to the Mount of Olives.

    What happened? The Passover ceremony and ritual was not complete. There was no fourth cup. There was no announcement that it was finished. Could it be that Jesus was so upset with what He knew was about to happen that He forgot? Doubtful!

    Not only Jesus, but also the 11 others had participated in the Passover Seder every year of their lives. No, this was done on purpose. The last supper of Jesus was not over.

    On the Mount of Olives, in the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples slept while Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.”

    He prayed that three times. Then Jesus was arrested, illegally put on trial by the Sanhedrin, then by Pontius Pilate, sentenced and crucified.

    While on the cross He wept. Jesus, who was in excruciating agony, was so merciful that He prayed for the forgiveness of His executioners. He was offered some wine with a pain killer, myrrh, in it. He refused it.

    “Later, knowing that all was now complete, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled and the kingdom established, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.‘” A man dipped a sponge into sour wine; he placed it on a hyssop branch and lifted it up to Jesus lips.

    He drank. (We recall that it was the hyssop branch which was used to paint lambs blood around the Hebrew’s door for the Passover of the angel of death.)

    It was then that Jesus said, “It is finished.” He then bowed His head and gave up the spirit to His Father.

    The fourth cup now represented the lamb’s blood of the first Passover, a saving signal to the angel of death.

    The Lamb of God was now sacrificed. The last Passover supper of Jesus Christ was now complete with the fourth cup. It was finished.

    The tie in with the Passover is unmistakable.

    The Lamb of God was sacrifice and death was about to be passed over come Easter day.

    The promise of eternal life for many was about to be fulfilled.

    Christ’s Passover was finished, but His mission was not until he rose from the dead.