When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” John 6
I love and am challenged by the the image of the Apostles, in Acts, being flogged after leaving the Sanhedrin and then actually "rejoicing" to be found worthy to suffer in Jesus' name. I have to ask myself, "How often, when I suffer, even for the sake of his name - doing ministry or service or trying to love or build bridges - do I grumble?" Filled with the Holy Spirit, the apostles have a profound unity with Jesus, which I desire. Imagine how powerful a grace it would be to have such an intimacy with Jesus that we would even experience that intimacy in suffering. Graces to which we are attracted are worth asking for.
We now begin Chapter 6 of John's Gospel. This is a powerful, rich chapter in which Jesus will reveal so much about himself and his mission for us. Throughout this special gospel Jesus will use the name God gave to Moses: I am. Jesus tells us that he is the Good Shepherd, the Gate, the Vine. Here he is the Bread of Life: living bread, life-giving bread. We are given much to chew in the weeks ahead - much to nourish us.
It all begins with the loaves. He will say later that the people don't understand the meaning of the multiplication of the loaves. Why did Jesus provide so much bread for the people that day? What was the "sign" that we are supposed to see? The people seemed to follow him, with fascination. What else could he do? Of course, they missed the sign, but what was it?
He is going to reveal to us that he is the one who has come to give us his very self to save us: "the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."(John 6:51) The sign is that he will become our nourishment to allow us to live forever. He will be broken and given for us. He will lay down his life that we might live. Ultimately, feeding the crowds shows us the one who gives us the Eucharist to be the food that keeps us in communion with him.
Thank you, Lord, for being food for our hungry journey in life. Please allow us to hunger only for you, the only food which will ever satisfy us. Feed us with your self-giving love that we might remain in communion with you, loving as we have been loved, being blessed, broken and given as you have been for us. Give us the ultimate intimacy of being able to be bread for our world, however you mission us to imitate your love in our everyday lives.
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