Gospel Jn 6:24-35
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry”
Today’s reading begins a series of readings from John’s Gospel that build upon last week’s story of the feeding of the 5000. Here Jesus makes some incredible claims – claims that are worth scrutinising for, if they are true, they change everything.
Jesus points to a significant truth, namely that the human appetite is infinite, despite our attempts to satiate it with all manner of things.
In the fourth century St Augustine of Hippo would emphasise this reality in the opening pages of his autobiography ‘The Confessions’, where he writes “You have made us for yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Describing the reality that the human person is fuelled by an eternal desire that cannot be quenched by natural means. Man is created for eternal union with the Triune God, and nothing but this union will suffice.
Jesus provides the means for this union will be achieved – and it is a way which causes scandal for those who first heard his words. Indeed, it continues to cause scandal to this day.
Jesus clearly makes the claim, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
He is the very thing that we yearn for, that we hunger and thirst for. It is he, and he alone who can satiate our deepest desires. He is that bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
For us today, the most difficult thing to do is to follow our desires all the way down – to really foster that desire within us, and cultivate it in faith and hope that it can indeed be fulfilled.