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The bread of life discourse

Gospel Reading: Jn 6:30-35
The crowd said to Jesus: “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:/ He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”/ So Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

So they said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

Centuries after the Exodus event, the Jews would look back with awe at the signs and wonders that the Lord worked for their ancestors (and, feeling one with their forefathers, for them, too). This is especially true of the crossing of the Yam Suf (the Red Sea) and the giving of the manna. Manna was a fine, flake-like bread by which God fed the Israelites in the desert (cf Ex 16:14-16). Even if the rebellious people got fed up with the manna (cf Nm 11:6), later generations would refer to and long for it as “grain from heaven” or “bread of angels.” Then there arose a popular expectation that, in the final days, God or the Messiah would again provide manna.

Jesus tells the Jews that they must accomplish the “work” of God by believing in him. Provoked, the Jews ask him a “sign” that indeed he is one worthy of belief, maybe a person like Moses. Can Jesus give them the wonderful manna as Moses did? Jesus corrects them by saying that it was God who gave the manna, and the true manna that God is now giving is his Son—Jesus—who has come down from heaven to give life to the world.

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“God rained manna upon them for food;grain from heaven he gave them. Man ate the bread of the angels; food he sent in abundance” (Ps 78:24-25).

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.