Sunday (August 5): Scripture:
24 So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Caper’na-um, seeking Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, `He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.
Meditation: What do you most hunger and thirst for in life? Jesus addressed this issue with those who sought him after the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. Where they simply hungry for things which satisfy the body or for that which satisfies the heart and soul? Jesus echoes the question posed by the prophet Isaiah: “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy” (Isaiah 55:2)? Only God can satisfy the spiritual hunger in our heart and soul – the hunger for truth, for life, and for companionsip and love.
Jesus makes a claim which only God can make: He is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger, thirst, and longing which every human being experiences in life. When the Israelites journeyed in the desert wildnerness they could find no food to keep themselves alive. They complained that God had left them there to perish. God tested them to see if they would trust in his personal care and provision for them. He gave them sufficient manna each day to sustain them on their journey to the promised land. This daily provision of manna in the wilderness could not produce long lasting satisfaction nor eteral life for the Israelites. It did however prefigure and point to the superabundance of the unique bread of the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper which Jesus gave to his disciples on the eve of his sacrifice. The bread which Jesus offers his disciples sustains us not only on our journey to the heavenly paradise, it gives us the abundant supernatural life of God which sustains us now and for all eternity. When we receive from the Lord’s table we unite ourselves to Jesus Christ, who makes us sharers in his body and blood and partakers of his divine life. Ignatius of Antioch (35-107 A.D.) calls it the “one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live for ever in Jesus Christ” (Ad Eph. 20,2). This supernatural food is healing for both body and soul and strength for our journey heavenward.
Jesus also spoke about the works of God and what we must do to be doing the works of God, namely to believe in God’s Son whom he has sent into the world. Jesus offers a new relationship with God which issues in a new kind of life: a life of sacrificial love, selfless service, and the forgiveness of others which corresponds to God’s mercy, goodness and loving kindness; a life of holiness, purity, and truth which corresponds to God’s holiness; and a life of obedience and trust which corresponds to God’s offer of abundant life, peace, and happiness. This is the work which Jesus directs us to and enables us to perform in the power of the Holy Spirit. Do you hunger for the bread which comes down from heaven and thirst for the words of everlasting life?
“Lord Jesus, you are the true Bread of Heaven. Only you alone can truly satisfy the deepest longing and hunger of my heart. Nourish me with the bread of life that I may be truly satisfied in you alone as the giver of life.”
3 things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders which he has wrought.
23 Yet he commanded the skies above, and opened the doors of heaven;
24 and he rained down upon them manna to eat, and gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance.
54 And he brought them to his holy land, to the mountain which his right hand had won.