I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE
(A biblical reflection on the 18th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME [YEAR B] – 1 August 2021)
Gospel Reading: John 6:24-35
First Reading: Exodus 16:2-4,12-15; Psalms: Psalm 78:3-4,23-25,54; Second Reading: Ephesians 4:17,20-24
The Scripture Text
So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on Him has God the Father set His seal.” Then they said to Him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” So they said to Him, “Then what sign do You do, that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.” They said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:24-35 RSV)
Throughout the ages, God continues to teach His people the same lessons. By giving the Israelites manna in the desert, He taught them to rely on Him on a day-by-day basis (Exodus 16:4). Centuries later, we see Jesus teaching His disciples a similar lesson: “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you” (John 6:27). He did not want them to limit their expectations to “perishable” signs and wonders from God. He wanted to take away their guilt and fill them with a love they had never known before.
When the people asked what works they should do in order to please God, Jesus gave them a very simple answer: “Believe in Him whom God has sent” (John 6:28-29). Nothing pleases our heavenly Father more than His children’s trust and obedience.
Even today, Jesus continues to teach us the same lesson. He does not want us to go hungry; He wants us to come to Him and be satisfied (John 6:35). He knows that only He can quench our hunger and thirst for meaning and security. A daily, living relationship with Him is our only answer.
Why do we find it hard to come to Jesus? Maybe we have a limited view of God and are afraid He will not satisfy our hunger. Maybe we think that we somehow have to earn His love by doing all the right things. Or maybe we have been disappointed in earthly relationships and find it hard to believe that our heavenly Father loves us just as we are. He is more interested in intimacy with us than in our performance because He knows that the more we know of His love, the more we will be compelled to obey His commands. Let us come to Him in faith, trusting that He alone can satisfy the deep desires of our hearts.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, You are the bread of life. Fill us with Your love so that we will never want anything else. Teach us to come to You every day to receive the food that endures to eternal life. Amen.
Jakarta, 31 July 2021
A Christian Pilgrim