Speak Lord: Speak, Bread of Life

Exposition, Piarist Church, Cracow aOn the 18th Sunday of Ordinary time in Year B, ie next Sunday, the gospel reading continues the reading from chapter 6 of the Gospel of John, begun last week.

Last week’s passage ended with Jesus heading for the hills to escape the enthusiasm of the crowd, that would crown him king.

When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into those boats and crossed to Capernaum to look for Jesus. When they found him on the other side, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’
Jesus answered:

‘I tell you most solemnly,
you are not looking for me because you have seen the signs
but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat.
Do not work for food that cannot last,
but work for food that endures to eternal life,
the kind of food the Son of Man is offering you,
for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal.’

Then they said to him, ‘What must we do if we are to do the works that God wants?’ Jesus gave them this answer, ‘This is working for God: you must believe in the one he has sent.’ So they said, ‘What sign will you give to show us that we should believe in you? What work will you do? Our fathers had manna to eat in the desert; as scripture says: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ Jesus answered:

‘I tell you most solemnly,
it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven,
it is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven,
the true bread;
for the bread of God
is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.’

‘Sir,’ they said ‘give us that bread always.’ Jesus answered:

‘I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never be hungry;
he who believes in me will never thirst.’

John 6:24-35

On their meeting the people seem a little sheepish, the enthusiasm of yesterday (?) seems to have ebbed away. All they can ask is ‘when did you come here?’ Hardly the most pressing question to ask the prophet they would make king!

Jesus responds to their clumsiness with words that challenge. He calls them to something more than they might be asking for.

They show themselves willing, just about.

But this passage ends with challenge also. They want bread, life giving bread. Jesus offers (only) himself.

  • How happy with that are they?
  • How happy with that are we?
  • For what do we long? What is it we strive for?

One thought on “Speak Lord: Speak, Bread of Life

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