Reflection on John 6:35, 41-51 11th Sunday after Pentecost August 8, 2021

The Gospel of John 6:35, 41-51

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on 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 the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

Let us Pray: Bread of life, you taught us to put away bitterness and anger, and with tenderhearted kindness to share the fruit of our labor with the needy. Strengthen us by your grace, that in communion with you, we may forgive one another and live-in love as Christ loved us. Amen.

I am the bread of life,” Jesus said: The eucharist can be and is bread of life but maybe it’s just one slice in a larger loaf of bread. Maybe the bread of life is the eucharist and more than the eucharist. Maybe you and I are to become the bread of life, just like Jesus. Think about all the people, relationships, and experiences that have fed, nourished, and sustained your life. Think about a time when someone else fed and nourished your life and I mean more than that they fixed your supper. I’m talking about the kind of people that spend their time and their presence with us. They love us. They teach us. The care for us. They encourage us. And our lives are fed and nourished by them. Sometimes it’s not even what they say or do, just being in his or her presence is itself bread. Aren’t there some people that when you spend time with them you just feel well fed and full?  The last year hopefully we have helped others by checking on them and giving them help when needed. Just to let them know someone was there. Sometimes it takes a serious problem to bring out the best in people. Recall someone who offered you wisdom or guidance, who listened to your life, or spoke a word of hope or encouragement that nourished and sustained your life. They were bread for you. Or maybe there was someone who helped you discover meaning or purpose in your life. Perhaps it was someone who said, “I forgive you” and you were strengthened to move forward. Maybe someone believed in you when you weren’t so sure about yourself. Our lives are nourished and fed by others in thousands of ways. Unfortunately, we spend to much time and other God-given resources complaining among ourselves. And Jesus still comes to us, receiving whatever meager offering we might have, magnifying it, spreading it, and making it a sufficient and helpful feast for all around a table set with bread from heaven. But the whole point of this passage is that while earthly bread nourishes earthly life, Jesus has been sent so that we might come, see, hear, learn, trust, eat the bread from heaven, the true bread that gives eternal life.

Let us Pray: Thanks be to God who gives us the bread of life, the sustenance that never fails, the promise of eternal life. Thanks be to God who doesn’t always give us what we want, but most certainly gives us what we need. Amen.

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