“As well as physical hunger, man also suffers from another form of hunger that cannot be sated with ordinary food. It is a hunger for life, a hunger for love, a hunger for eternity. Manna is the sign … that prefigured the food that satisfies this profound hunger present in man. Jesus gives us this nourishment — or rather, He Himself is the living bread that gives life to the world. His Body is the true food in the form of bread; His Blood is the true sustenance in the form of wine. It is not a simple form of nourishment to sate our bodies, like manna; the Body of Christ is the bread of the last times, able to give life, eternal life, because the substance of this bread is Love.”-- Pope Francis: (Holy Mass in the square of St. John Lateran, June 20, 2014)
Gospel Text: (JN 6:35-40)
Jesus said to the crowds,
“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,
you do not believe.
Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.”
Jesus in today’s gospel calls Himself the ‘Bread of Life.’ But why does Jesus call Himself the bread of life? All of us know that bread is our staple food especially in the western world. We cannot live long if there is no food and bread sustains us. But what is ‘life’? Jesus teaches us that life is more than mere physical existence. It is a life that is connected with God, the author of life. It is a life of real relationship with God: a relationship of trust, love and obedience.
Jesus is our Bread of Life because first, He offers Himself as our spiritual food, which produces the very life of God within us. Second, He promises unbroken friendship and freedom from the fear of being forsaken or cut off from God. And third, He offers us the hope of sharing in His resurrection.
And what must we do to obtain this eternal life we so desire? Some heroic, superhuman feat? No, it is something much simpler for Jesus says: «Whoever comes to me, I shall not turn away» (Jn 6,37). We simply have to turn up – to come to Him.