So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who 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, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
People are hungry. The crowd in today’s Gospel is hungry: for basic sustenance, of course. But more than that, they long to know that life is more than mere survival. Could Jesus provide that sign that living is indeed more than sustaining life?
Jesus’ answer is clear. Life moves from survival to full meaning in the very person of Jesus, who becomes everlasting bread for all our hungers. Good news set against the morning news where a quick glance of lead stories has one wonder why higher truth, beauty, and transcendence evades a world on the way. Good news set against my nightly Examen and its litany of trivial fears and petty grips.
As people of faith, Easter unfolds in this truth, set within life as it is. Easter yet again reminds us of the triumph of the cross. Beyond the apparent scape of life lies a much deeper and more beautiful love that is fully expressed in the self-giving God named Jesus, bread for a hungry world.
Lord, we look in many different places to find that which gives significance, hope, and joy for our lives. We thank you for our family, for our work, for our friends, for the pleasure of hobbies, and for the warm winds and maturing buds on the trees. Yet we know such gifts are transitory.
Lord, as the light of day surrenders to the evening sky, we place our life before you. We trust that our journey discovers its purpose when united with you. We are comforted to know that the distance between death and eternal life is but a thin veil. And that whoever comes to you and believes in you “will never be hungry, and …will never be thirsty.”
—The Jesuit Prayer Team