Faith in the Bread of Life

John 6:35-40
Acts 8:1-8 / Ps 66

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

Faith hopes in the unbelievable,
As without it we fall to despair;
Jesus as Bread is conceivable
In the Eucharist that we all share.

Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. But I told you that although you have seen (me), still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will not reject. 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 this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” (John 6:35-40)

Reflection

Having witnessed (and eaten) the multiplication of bread and fish, the crowd said to Jesus, “Sir, give us this bread always” (John 6:34). They did not understand that Jesus was talking about Himself, the Bread of Life Who had come down from heaven in order to give eternal life to the whole world. They were only concerned with the bread for their bodies’ nourishment. Only the true disciples who believed in Jesus as the Source of nourishment for their souls would have eternal life “and shall be raised on the last day” (Jn.6:40).

The words of our Lord during His life on earth were confounding to the Jews, who only had the testimony of their ancestors during the time of Moses about the manna as the “bread from heaven” (Jn.6:31) that saved Israel from starving in the desert. How could this son of the carpenter Joseph be the “bread that came down from heaven” as Jesus claimed to be? They did not understand that our Lord was in fact prophesying about the Holy Eucharist for billions of future Christians, and at the same time preparing His disciples for its institution at the Last Supper.

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 believe the Bread of Life Who came down from heaven for mankind’s salvation. St. Paul said that “through faith in Christ the promise might be given to those who believe” (Gal.3:22). At the Last Supper, Jesus took bread, blessed it, and broke it to share with His apostles, saying, “This is my Body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me” (Lk.22:19).

The Gospel of Matthew ends with Jesus’ words: “I am with you always until the end of time.” Our Lord Jesus will always be with us, as He promised– in the Holy Eucharist. Receive Him as often as you can.

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 age, where you nourish our hungry souls. Amen.

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