"If Christ did not want to dismiss the Jews without food in the desert for fear that they would collapse on the way, it was to teach us that it is dangerous to try to get to heaven without the Bread of Heaven."- St. Jerome: (347 –420: was a priest, confessor, theologian and historian.)
Gospel Text: (JN 6:44-51)
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."
For many of us living in the United States the concept of true “hunger” does not have a personal, recognizable face. Rather it’s “over there”, off in the distance, perhaps across town. Oh we may be hungry, and that gut growl is easily remedied by a quick trip to the pantry or fridge, or perhaps the fast food or coffee shop that generally are within close range. And yet hunger is real for too many people of all ages and locations, with thousands of people dying daily throughout the world…from hunger.
Jesus worked many miracles to provide for those who were hungry. Today’s Gospel selection cites Jesus speaking of His life-giving presence: “I am the bread of life…I am the living bread that came down from heaven…whoever eats this bread will live forever.” The crowds came to him looking for food miraculously provided, and He today responds with a life-giving message that has nourished people of all ages and walks of life: His message of selfless love, proclaimed in word and deed, led Him to His Cross and grave – and to Resurrection and Life!