FirstReading: Ex. 16:2-4, 12-15
Psalm: Ps. 78:3-4, 23-24, 25, 54
SecondReading: Eph. 4:17, 20-24
Gospel: Jn. 6:24-35
Today’s Gospel is a continuation of last week’s reading where we saw Jesus feed the hungry multitude. Because they were fully satisfied, they always wanted to be with Jesus. Jesus, in turn, reveals their motivation and thus challenges them to go beyond what they perceived Jesus to be, that is, someone who is able to satisfy temporal needs. Jesus is the only One who can fully satisfy us.
It must, however, be noted that these people are eager to do God’s will as evidenced in their inquiry “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” Jesus replies by saying that they are to believe in Him, whom the Father has sent.
This challenge of Jesus is none other than to put their faith in Jesus. Jesus tells them to believe and then they will see. Jesus then claims that he is the bread of life. This is the first of the ego eimi, the “I am” formulas containing self-definitions of Jesus. These are directly inspired from Old Testament parallel expressions used by God to reveal himself. Like in the burning bush incident with Moses, Yahweh responds to Moses’ inquiry about God’s identity. Yahweh said: “I am who am.” These self-definitions insist on definitive an exclusive character of the value affirmed. Later on, Jesus would refer to himself, as the light of the world, door of the sheep pen, good shepherd, resurrection and life, way, truth, and life, and true vine.
This self-definition of Jesus as the bread of life then invites us to believe in him for anyone who goes to Jesus shall not hunger and shall never thirst. If we allow ourselves to believe, then we will truly see. So, instead of what we have been accustomed to as seeing is believing, Jesus challenges us by saying believing is seeing.
How do we show that Jesus is truly the bread of life? It is essentially to show this reality as operative in our life. In our relationships with others, it is to believe in the inherent goodness
of people. Some might readily object to this as something so naive as we have had unfortunate experiences in the past that can serve as stumbling blocks to believe and have faith in people, institutions, and relationships.
This attitude of lack of trust likewise is extended in our relationship with Jesus. And so; it might be good to ask ourselves whether we are interested in Jesus only because we are able to get whatever we ask from him. Instead, it is more ideal and inspiring to hear people say that they follow Jesus because he deserves to be followed because he was willing to offer his life for us and thus, shows his deep love and affection for us, because he shares the truth of God and he is utterly good and merciful. Jesus fills us with our spiritual hungers in life that include love and meaning.
Today, let us ask for the grace to allow ourselves to have a deeper faith in Jesus, the bread of life. Rest assured that if we believe, we would truly see something greater than all what we have expected before which, hopefully, in turn would eventually translate in deeper trust and faith with ourselves and other people as well.