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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.”

When Jesus tells the people to do the “work of God,” which is to believe in him whom God has sent, the people challenge him: “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?” They want to see Jesus work a miracle akin to the miracle of manna that Moses gave them from heaven. Among the Jews, there was a popular expectation that in the final days, God or the Messiah would again provide manna. A rabbinic writing goes: “As the first redeemer caused manna to descend… so will the latter redeemer cause manna to descend.” Hence, to test Jesus’ claims, the Jews demand for a sign: to rain bread from heaven similar to the manna.

In the desert, Moses beseeched God to give bread to the hungry people who were ready to stone him, accusing him of leading them to the desert to die of hunger. So it was really God, not Moses, who gave the manna. Now, Jesus brings that event to the present. God is giving – here and now – the true bread from heaven. And the bread is none other than Jesus himself. He alone can satisfy the deeper hunger of human beings: hunger for God and life with God. This is something that material bread cannot do. Only Jesus can.

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In the Lord’s Prayer, we ask God to give us our daily bread for our bodily sustenance. We also ask for the “bread of tomorrow” that prepares us to sit at the heavenly banquet: Jesus, the Bread of Life.

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2016,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.