I am the Bread of Life

In this week's daily readings, the Gospel of John takes us into the day after Jesus fed the five-thousand people. He has crossed the sea, and they have come to find Him. The miracle drew them to Jesus, but He tells them that it isn't nearly enough. They wanted more food, but he tells them, "Work ... for the food that endures for eternal life." (John 6:27)

Of course, as we saw last week, the scene has been set to remind us of the Israelites' escape from slavery in Egypt. In fact, the Passover feast celebrating that event is coming, and the timing isn't coincidental.

Jesus explains that He is the bread sent from heaven. This is something more than the manna in the desert. With this bread you will not die, you will have eternal life.

So often, the teachings that we hear don't make a lot of sense. The people of this time had no experience or understanding for context here, so they ask, "How can this be?" Don't we hear this a lot in the Bible? Mary, Nicodemus, Zechariah, Gideon, and many others have no idea how God is going to do what He says.

Here Jesus stands His ground and declares, "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you." (John 6:53)

This is tough. I don't know about you, but I would have been really confused and concerned about now. There was no understanding of bread and wine and the Body and Blood of Jesus. There was just this statement hanging out there that we had to eat His flesh and drink His blood.

It was enough that many people left, and Jesus did nothing to explain that He was speaking symbolically and bring them back. He even asked the apostles if they would leave, too.

They didn't know what Jesus meant, but they knew that what He said was truth. This was not the bread to fill their stomachs for a time. This was true food that would give them eternal life. They were willing to live in the uncertainty for a while and watch it come into focus.

Can we do that? We all have those times in our lives when we don't know what God is doing with us. We all have times that we wrestle with a teaching or a demand of Jesus. Can we be patient and allow ourselves to be instructed and led? It takes time.

Jesus is willing to give it to us.

Can we give it to Him?

Read it here: John 6:22-69

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Karen May

Inspirational Catholic Writer and Speaker

based in Austin, Texas