What Am I Hungry For?

1) Opening prayer
Lord our God, generous Father,
you have given us your Son Jesus
that we may relive with him and like him
his passion and his resurrection.Through Jesus, give us the courage
to place ourselves into your hands
in the trials of life and in death,
that one day we may see your glory
and at your right hand your Son Jesus Christ,
who lives with you for ever.
2) Gospel Reading – John 6,30-35
So they said, ‘What sign will you yourself do, the sight of which will make us believe in you? What work will you do? Our fathers ate manna in the desert; as scripture says: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’
Jesus answered them: In all truth I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, it is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven, the true bread; for the bread of God is the bread which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
‘Sir,’ they said, ‘give us that bread always.’ Jesus answered them: I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever hunger; no one who believes in me will ever thirst.
3) Reflection
• The Discourse of the Bread of Life is not a text to be discussed and dissected, but rather it should be meditated and pondered. This is why, even if it is not fully understood, we should not be concerned. This text of the Bread of Life demands a whole life to meditate on it and deepen it. Such a text, people have to read it, meditate it, pray it, think about it, read it again, repeat it and ponder it, as one does with a good sweet in the mouth. We turn it and turn it in the mouth until it is finished. The one, who reads the Fourth Gospel superficially, may have the impression that John always repeats the same thing. Reading it more attentively, one becomes aware that it is not a question of repetition. The author of the fourth Gospel has his own way of repeating the same theme, but always at a higher and more profound level. It seems to be like a winding staircase. By turning one reaches the same place, but always at a higher level or a more profound one.
• John 6, 30-33: What sign will you yourself do, the sign which will make us believe in you? People had asked: What should we do to carry out the work of God? Jesus responds: “The work of God is to believe in the one who has sent”, that is to believe in Jesus. This is why people formulate the new question: “Which sign do you do so that we can see and can believe? Which work do you do?” This means that they did not understand the multiplication of the loaves as a sign from God to legitimize Jesus before the people, as the one sent by God! They continue to argue: In the past our fathers ate the manna which Moses gave them! They called it “bread from Heaven” (Ws 16, 20), that is, “bread of God”. Moses continues to be the great leader in whom to believe. If Jesus wants the people to believe in him, he should work a greater sign than Moses. “What work do you do?”
• Jesus responds that the bread given by Moses was not the true bread from heaven. Coming from on high, yes, but it was not the bread of God, because it did not guarantee life to any one. All of them died in the desert (Jn 6, 49). The true bread of heaven, the bread of God, is the one which conquers death and gives life! It is the one which descends from Heaven and gives life to the world. It is Jesus himself! Jesus tries to help the people to liberate themselves from the way of thinking of the past. For him, fidelity to the past does not mean to close up oneself in the ancient things and not accept renewal. Fidelity to the past means to accept the novelty which comes as the fruit of the seed which was planted in the past.
• John 6, 34-35: Lord, gives us always of that bread! Jesus answers clearly: “I am the bread of life!” To eat the bread of heaven is the same as to believe in Jesus and accept to follow the road that he teaches us, that is: “My food is to do the will of the one who has sent me and to complete his work!” (Jn 4, 34). This is the true food which nourishes the person, which transforms life and gives new life. This last verse of today’s Gospel (Jn 6, 35) will be taken back as the first verse of tomorrow’s Gospel (Jn 6, 35-40)
4) Personal questions
• Hungry for bread, hungry for God. Which of these two predominates in me?
• Jesus says: “I am the bread of life”. He takes away hunger and thirst. Which of these experiences do I have in my life?
5) Concluding Prayer
Lord turn your ear to me, make haste.
Be for me a rock-fastness,
a fortified citadel to save me.
You are my rock, my rampart;
true to your name, lead me and guide me! (Ps 31,1-2)
This reflection is thanks to the good Carmelites at ocarm.org

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