I AM THE BREAD WHICH CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN
(A biblical reflection on the 19th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME [YEAR B] – 8 August 2021)
Gospel Reading: John 6:41-51
First Reading: 1 Kings 19:4-8; Psalms: Psalm 34:2-9; Second Reading: Ephesians 4:30-5:2
The Scripture Text
The Jews then murmured at Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘and they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except Him who is from God; He has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.” (John 6:41-51 RSV)
As Jesus spoke to the people of the heavenly food that the Father would give them, He reminded them of the prophets’ words: “They will all be taught by God” (John 6:45; see Isaiah 54:13). From the beginning, God’s intention was that His children would know Him personally and know their high dignity and value as His beloved children. He wanted to “feed” them with His presence and with the assurance of their place in His heart.
Despite our first parents’ disobedience and our subsequent separation from Him, God’s plan has not been thwarted. All through the Old Testament, God used His servants – prophets, patriarchs, kings, and priests – to teach His people about His love for them. Over and over, He forgave their unfaithfulness. Over and over, He sustained and protected them.
God knows that our journey back to Him is too great for us to accomplish on our own. Temptations are rife in this world, and our own hearts are darkened by sin to the point that we find it hard to do the very things we know we should do. This is why our heavenly Father has given us His Son Jesus to be bread for our journey. Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh (John 1:14), is our Teacher and our Sustenance. Through Him, God has revealed His wonderful promises. Through Christ, He has sent the Holy Spirit as our Counselor and Guide to help us to understand all that Jesus taught and lived.
As the Holy Spirit sustains and feeds us, He calls us to proclaim the BREAD OF LIFE – JESUS – to others. He entrusts us with God’s word and calls us to be His presence on earth. Look for opportunities to be a source of hope and encouragement today. The Holy Spirit is in each and every one of us. Through the EUCHARIST He feeds us (you and me) with His presence, and all throughout our day He is with us to love us and protect us.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You for Jesus, the bread of life. Thank You that the Holy Spirit is always with us to bring us closer to Jesus, who is the ultimate source of our strength, hope, and consolation. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Jakarta, 7 August 2021
A Christian Pilgrim