Today, the 20th Sunday (B) of the year, we continue to explore the 6th chapter of St. John’s gospel which centers around the important miracle of the Loaves and the Fish. Jesus says to the crowds that he himself is “living bread.”
When Jesus speaks, God speaks. When he says something, God says something, and in the gospel of John for this Sunday he says:
“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.”
And so God says: “I am the living bread come down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever.
God is bread, food for the hungry, for those who cannot live without food. That’s us, isn’t it? We can’t live without being fed.
God is our food, not temporary food, but food enabling us to live forever. God doesn’t limit himself to giving bread that perishes; God gives us a daily food leading to eternal life, to sharing in God’s life. So we say in the Our Father, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Bread is such a simple yet profound description of God! It describes God, not as remote or detached from this world and from us. He cares for us with a daily care and offers us day by day the promise of eternal life. God’s care is simple, like a small piece of bread; steady like the daily food we eat.
Taking the holy Bread from the altar, we commune with God who brings us life, daily life, eternal life. Jesus Christ makes this God known when he says, “I am the living bread come down from heaven.”
Is there something else we can learn from this, about ourselves? We‘re best when, like God, we’re bread. Giving, instead of receiving; nourishing others, rather than seeking nourishment.
Our society is called a consumer society. We consume, we take. But isn’t it better to feed others, like bread. Isn’t that also the message from today’s gospel?
Shall we learn this message? Our first reading today from the Book of Wisdom calls us to a banquet hall to feed on this wisdom. Listen to the invitation:
“Let whoever is simple turn in here;
To the one who lacks understanding, she says,
Come, eat of my food,
and drink of the wine I have mixed!
Forsake foolishness that you may live;
advance in the way of understanding.”