I am the Bread of Life…
We are living in a world where people everywhere hunger more for physical or spiritual food or both. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started the entire world changed. We remember a couple of months ago we didn’t have the opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist. There are parts of the world who still don’t have the opportunity to come together as before.
This is the third Sunday of the fifth, we reflect on the Eucharist. We started reading from the Gospel of John beginning with chapter 6, the multiplication of loaves and fish. Jesus fed the hungry in the deserted place. Last Sunday we saw the people were searching for Jesus and Jesus taught them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, he who believes in me shall never thirst (John 6:35).” The continuation of this passage we read this week where we see Jews have a hard time accepting Jesus’ words. They look at him as another hometown boy.
The first reading from the Book of First King prepares us to reflect on the Eucharist in the Gospel. In the first reading, Elijah was fleeing from Queen Jezebel, wife of King Ahab. We have to read the previous passage to see the reason for his flee. King Ahab of Israel married a pagan queen, Jezebel. She began to spread pagan worship in Israel. The prophet Elijah challenged 450 of the pagan god Baal’s prophets, defeated them in a public sacrifice contest, and killed all of them. So the furious Queen Jezebel sent soldiers to kill the prophet. Elijah's journey into the wilderness and he was sustained by bread and water from an angel. After eating and drinking, Elijah walked forty days and nights. We see in the Book of Exodus 34:28, “Moses was there with the LORD for forty days and forty nights, without eating any food or drinking any water, and he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten words.” The story of Elijah’s journey to Mount Horeb begins as a flight from danger but takes a surprising turn. The Mount“Horeb” is an alternate name for the Mount “Sinai” where the Lord had appeared to Moses and the Israelites (Exodus19).
God’s strengthening of his prophet by the miraculously provided food. Jesus tells us in the Gospel, God strengthens us in our pilgrimage to Heaven by the Bread from Heaven: the Holy Eucharist. The Jews had had time to accept it, “The Jews murmured about Jesus because he said,
“I am the bread that came down from heaven...” We recall from the book of Exodus 16:2, Number 11:11, Israelites murmured against Lord and Moses. Here they gathered against Jesus. But Jesus continues to teach them, “I am the bread of life.” Jesus is fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah about the messianic age which we read in Isaiah 54:13. Jesus says in John 6:51, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven;...I will give as my flesh for the life of the world.” Here Jesus talks in the future tense, it is about the Last Supper and the Cross where Jesus gives himself as living bread to a starving world.
Jesus is ready to go any distance to bring us closer to the Father. To come into a relationship with the Father, something has to happen. You and I are created in the image of God with gifts of freedom and understanding. We have pulled away from God, and separated ourselves from Him. We need redemption. St. Paul speaks about "the day of redemption" in the second reading. The question is: What does redemption mean? Pope Benedict puts it this way: "Why does God require the death of his only Son?" (Jesus of Nazareth, part II). We will never fully understand the mystery of redemption, but we can say this: it is not illogical. Pope Benedict writes about the logic of redemption, "God cannot simply ignore man's disobedience and all the evil of history; he cannot treat it as inconsequential or meaningless." In today’s gospel, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” To feed the spirit, we need good nutrition. Our journey is like Elijah’s it is not easy, but Jesus gives himself in the Eucharist to nourish us and make us ready for the journey.
Thank you! Thank you to everyone who helped to set up the tent and sell the ice cream and everyone who enjoyed ice cream at our stand during the Flambeau Rama. Thank you Lemmer family for the freezer. We made a $ 1475.00 profit. Thank you, everyone! Fr. Shaji