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The bread of life discourseDongon

Gospel reading: 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.”

Jesus’ discourse on the Bread of Life is not entirely about his Body and Blood that are true food and true drink. The first part of the discourse (Jn 6:41-47) has a sapiential theme: Jesus presents himself as “bread” by reason of his word (teaching). Jesus’ word is “bread” that nourishes unto eternal life.

The word or teaching of the Lord is often presented as “food and drink” in the sapiential books containing the Wisdom tradition of Israel. Wisdom herself claims, “Those who eat of me will hunger still, those who drink of me will thirst for more” (Sir 24:21). The rabbis also spoke of the Torah (Teaching of Moses) as another “manna” – the bread given by God to satisfy human hunger and thirst.

Jesus, by contrast, speaks of “hunger and thirst” that faith in him will satisfy – once and for all. He alone can perfectly fulfill the most basic of all human longings – to see the face of God.

“It is not by bread alone that people live, but by all that comes forth from the mouth of the Lord” (Dt 8:3).

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SOURCE: “366 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.