( A commentary on John 6: 44-51)
Daily Reflection – 4/22/2021
Jesus said to the crowds: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. It is written in the prophets: They shall all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.” (John 6:44-51)
When we are hungry, most of us can eat. When we are thirsty, most of us can drink. We satisfy ourselves.
But today’s Gospel reminds us of a different hunger. A hunger which is not satisfied with one meal. A hunger which carries with it an obligation for more.
We cannot eat of this bread and forget. We cannot eat of this bread and walk away.
We cannot eat of this bread and go on with life as usual. In fact, when we eat and when we drink, when we become part of the central activity and posture of our life together, the central reason for our gathering–we too are saying that God’s will for all of us . . . all of us . . . and all the world is to be restored, saved, healed, made whole!
Maybe if we spent more time and attention in becoming a “feeding people,” if we put our attention in becoming a community of the “bread of life,” if we took more seriously the reality of God’s own presence in our meal, we would spend less time and attention in things that separate us, that exclude others, that close our doors, and that questions God’s image in others.
Part of the challenge of the Christian life is the recognition of our dependence & our interdependence. In eating of this bread of life, we are recognizing our own dependence on God, no longer relying on signs and wonders, instead recognizing our own need. Recognizing that in this eating and in this drinking, in this gathering, we are able to experience God’s self, we in need of sustenance, we in need of something more, we are truly seeing God.
We are proclaiming that God has called us to care for one another . . . if God could leave glory in order to reach us, then we too can leave the comforts of life, we too can leave our cushy pews, our comfortable places of worship, we too can walk out of the doors of our gatherings ready to align ourselves with the cruciform life that is life eternal.
That is the bread of life. A bread that sustains us daily. A bread that reminds us that we are part of Him. A bread that says that to partake of his banquet is to accept a seat at the table which binds us to one another and to Him who loves us.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, you are the living bread which sustains me in this life. May I always hunger for the bread which comes from heaven and find in it the nourishment and strength I need to love and serve you wholeheartedly. May I always live in the joy, peace, and unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, both now and in the age to come.”
Jesus makes a claim only God can make: He is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger we experience. The manna in the wilderness sustained the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land. It could not produce eternal life for the Israelites. The bread which Jesus offers his disciples sustains us not only on our journey to the heavenly paradise, it gives us the abundant supernatural life of God which sustains us for all eternity.