THERE IS BREAD THAT GIVES ETERNAL LIFE – 5TH August 2018, 18th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)

Ex 16:2-4,12-15; Eph 4:117,20-24; Jn 6:24-35

Fr Fernando Armellini SCJ
Claretian Publications, Macau                  

After the multiplication of the bread the crowd tried to make him king. He knew that they were doing this not because they were hungry for his Word but to continue to have food in abundance, for free, without working.

He turns to the disciples to verify their motives for seeking the Lord. Many, such as those who have witnessed the miracle of the loaves, should admit to being moved by the secret hope of obtaining from Jesus the food which does not perish: special graces, miracles, health, success, wealth, and protection against misfortunes. The misunderstanding on the “bread” that Jesus offers is always present.

So what is the food “which endures to eternal life”? Five loaves of bread in the Jewish memories remain as the five books of Torah and two fish as the books of prophets and wisdom, the commentaries of the Torah. Mark notes—the disciples “had only one loaf with them” (Mk 8:14), Jesus, whose Word is all the food that God has given to his people. Who has him does not need other bread, has no need of other revelations.

It is not enough to be convinced that Jesus existed, but be someone who believes in the one that the Father sent. Jesus asks this blind trust. That is the reason why the Jews, before giving it to him, demand of him concrete evidence, a great miracle (vv. 30-33). The fact of the loaves is not enough because Moses did so much more; he not only gave manna for a meal and only five thousand men; he has fed an entire people for forty years.

Jesus clarifies: it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven. It was my Father, the same one who gives today to the world, no longer the manna, but the food that feeds a life not destined to perish, the true bread from heaven that gives life to all humanity.

On hearing this, “Give us this bread always”—asks the crowd. A similar sentence was pronounced even by the Samaritan woman: “Give me this water” (Jn 4:15).

Jesus makes it clear: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall never be hungry, and whoever believes in me shall never be thirsty” (v. 35).

The only bread that satisfies the need for happiness is the Word of God and the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Translated by Fr John Ledesma SDB
Abridged by Jijo Kandamkualthy CMF