2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a; Psalm 51:1-13; (or Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15; Psalm 78:23-29); Ephesians 4:1-16; John 6:24-35
“There are people in the world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” – Mahatma Gandhi
When we read the story of the Last Supper in the Gospel According to John (John 13:1-17:36) we are struck that there is no mention of Jesus taking bread and wine, no mention of the Eucharist, as we now call it, no Holy Communion. John prefers to speak of the Eucharist in an indirect way in Chapter 6. Last Sunday we had the story of the multiplication of the fish and the loaves. Then these well fed people follow Jesus. In an almost insulting comment Jesus says they are looking for him not because they understand but because their bellies were filled. (John 6:26) Understand what? At the end of today’s Gospel is the answer: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” What we really hunger and thirst for is something much deeper than ordinary food and drink. We sometimes stuff ourselves, trying to fill the hole inside of us with food, as if we could eat something that would satisfy us. But we could stuff ourselves at every meal and still be hungry for something deeper. The hunger for which we long for is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread. The bread does not last, like the manna the Hebrew people had in the desert that was rot the next morning when they tried to hoard it. (Exodus 16:20) But we are to come to Jesus and never hunger or thirst again. The problem is that Jesus does not stay put. If we are to come to him we must always be on the move, always be willing to travel into the unfamiliar, risk the uncomfortable. Ordinary bread becomes familiar and comfortable. Not so the Bread of Life. When we put out our hands at the altar to receive the “Bread of Heaven” and the “Cup of Salvation” we take the risk to follow Jesus into the mystery of our lives.
John 6:27 says that God the Father has “set his seal” on Jesus. This is in the sense of a “seal of approval.” The New International Version more clearly translates it in this way. Another possible meaning of “seal” is a mark of ownership like a brand.
Bake the bread for all.
Ferment the grapes ever joy.
Hunger no nor thirst.