By: Sam Abbott, UF Student
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst” (John 6:35).
Today’s First Reading is from Exodus and details the plight of the Israelites who are wandering in the desert after fleeing Egypt. While traveling through the desert, the Israelites lament their dismal situation and grumble against Moses. To aid their plight and ease their starvation, God provides for them bread and flesh. Today’s Gospel is the fulfillment of God’s promise to provide life-fulfilling bread to His people.
The Gospel for this Sunday begins with a crowd searching for Jesus and his disciples to hear the good news. The people who came to Capernaum to seek out Jesus were delighted to hear of this bread that gives life forever and were eager to have it. These followers thought Jesus was talking about a particular kind of bread, similar to what rained down upon the Israelites in the desert. These people shouted to the Lord, “Lord, give us always that bread!” This misunderstanding is comparable to Christ’s conversation with Samaritan women at the well, who upon hearing Christ tell her she could have a spring of living water that offers eternal life proclaims, “Lord, give me of that water!” (Jn 4:15) In both situations, God offered them more than they could possibly conceive.
In Exodus, God provided flesh and bread to save His people from death. In the Book of John, Jesus turns bread into His flesh to not only save us from death, but grant us eternal life. We should always hunger for the Bread of Life, knowing that like regular food, imbibing in it once will not sustain us. We must make it our “daily bread”, for if we stop eating and drinking from this Source we will cease living. By treating the Eucharist as the new “bread that the LORD has given you to eat,” we can be constantly nourished through God’s sacrifice and spirit. Bread from heaven saved the Israelites from starvation, similar to how the Bread of Life now saves us from sin.