Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.”
Yesterday we spoke of work as the gift of God. Today we find that the work of God is a nutritious gift. It is an odd fact that Jesus (like the story of the fall in Genesis 3) frequently linked eating with obedience to the will of God. And so we find that during his temptation in the desert, Jesus rebukes the devil’s temptation to turn stones into bread with the text from Deuteronomy that reads, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Likewise, of course, when he is asked in John 6 how to do the work that God requires, he says, “I am the bread of life”, tells his audience “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me” and finally declares, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” Mysteriously, he once again links obedience to the will of God with eating and tells his astonished listeners that they must eat him if they are to be obedient to God as he is (“Unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood you have no life in you.”). This is why the apostles and the Church after them always took Jesus literally when he said, at the Last Supper, “This is my body”. Today, receive the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood in the astonishing gift of the Eucharist. In so doing, you will accomplish his work of worship.