Hunger for the Bread of Life

John 6: 30-35
Acts 7:51—8:1a / Psa 31

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

Who puts our Lord Jesus Christ first
Will never go hungry or thirst.
For those who seek true life instead
Will find it in the Living Bread.

They (the crowd) asked Jesus, “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” Jesus answered them, “I tell you the truth, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father Who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the Bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” So they said to Him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never thirst.” (John 6: 30-35)

Reflection

In the three years that Jesus performed His mission to teach and heal, thousands of people came to believe that He was the Messiah. But there were still skeptics among the Jews who kept asking for a sign, even after He had fed more than five thousand of them from five loaves and two fish. It seems that this miracle had not been enough proof of His divinity, but had only whetted their appetite for more exciting displays of power. Like their ancestors who received manna from heaven everyday during their sojourn in the desert, they only wanted Him to “give us this bread always,” but they could not see His more important message beyond the miracles.

Like those Jews in Jesus’ time who were only thinking about their physical needs, there are still many people today who only seek to satisfy their hunger for food and other material needs, but neglect the more important needs of their famished souls. Every time we go to any of the six malls in our city, we notice that almost all the restaurants and fast food chains are packed with people. Filipinos are a food-loving people. But Filipinos are also a very religious people– in fact the only predominant Christian nation in Asia. So how come our churches are not as packed with people like our restaurants on any day except Sunday? Is Sunday the only time we can receive the Bread of Life, Who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world?

God created us to receive not only mere physical nourishment, but more importantly, to be sustained by His Spirit as well. As Jesus Himself said, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Mt.4:4) This nourishment can only come from regularly reading and reflecting on the Word of God, and receiving the Bread of Life. And as we have received, so we must give, so that our joy may be complete. This comes in sharing the Word of God with hungry souls in our “Days with the Lord” sessions for out-of-school youths. It is always a pleasure to be given the privilege of “feeding” these young children of God with His spiritual nourishment, especially in making them understand His great love. Nothing can ever be more fulfilling. “I bless the Lord at all times, praise always in my mouth. My soul will glory in the Lord that the poor may hear and be glad” (Psa.34:2-3).

Nothing nourishes more than You, Lord Jesus, in Your Eucharist, and in Your Word. Let me receive You always, to be sanctified by Your Spirit, and be inspired and strengthened for the work ahead. Thank You, Father for our Daily Bread. Amen.

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