Bread of Life — John 6:34-40
Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
After feeding the five thousand, people followed Jesus for earthly bread (6:26). Jesus tells them that I am the bread of life. Then people ask Jesus for it without knowing its real meaning. Jesus teaches them. The term ‘bread’ points to the desires and longings of a person, i.e. his personal needs and aspirations.
As we reflect on our own life we are guided by various desires and aspirations each and every moment. Human life can be considered as a running after of various needs which may be of different levels, spiritual or material. We see people taking different ways to satisfy their desires. There are people and movements, may it be religious or secular, who attract people promising the fulfilment of their life. They offer gratification for the desires by various means. Here lies the place of the ‘Bread of life’.
There is an innate vacuum in us which make us to aspire for. The foundational or basic desire underlying every other attraction is this fulfilment of life. We often misunderstand it to be the desire for this and that and we run after it as we have seen in today’s Gospel. A person can find fulfilment only in this ‘Bread’ because all other bread we get is of the earth but this is from heaven.
Only heaven can satisfy man because he is spiritual. i.e, the reason for his existence is the spirit in him which God has created for Himself. As St Augustine says ‘Lord, You have created me for You alone, until I reach you my soul is restless’. Earthly bread supports earthly life for a little span of time – whatever may it be. The heavenly Bread – Jesus – only can give the eternal life where we will be no more hungry of thirsty. There all other desires find fulfilment.
How to achieve this real Bread? Go to Him who is the real Bread of life who will not abandon any one of us. As Jesus is fulfilling the will of the Father, seeking His will is the way for us for approaching Him and believing Him. Then we are assured of the will of the Father, i.e. resurrection and eternal life. Let us dignify our inclinations to the desires of senses and earth by realizing the real longing in us for the real Bread of Life.
– – – reflection by Fr Abraham Muruppel