Over the past few weeks, we have had a recurring theme about ‘bread’, the most fundamental food in the human, or at least western, diet. Jesus feeds 5000 people on the hillside by miraculously multiplying a few bread rolls and fish. When the crowd following him become over-excited about this practical miracle and demanded more, he remonstrates with them, and tells them that they are missing the point. Miracles were not about satisfying their ever-present need for excitement, they were about something far deeper. An endless supply of everyday bread was never going to be the answer to the hunger and longing within them. In today’s Gospel Jesus reiterates that he is the Bread of Life. He is the one who completes the manna miracle when their ancestors were fed in the wilderness. He is the one who satisfies their deepest longings, and it is only in following him that they can be truly satisfied.
Like the crowd that followed Jesus, we so often mix up these deep spiritual longings with our need for material things or endless useless ephemera. If I could only have……then life will be good and I’ll be happy. Jesus tells us over and over again, that in the long run, none of these things will really satisfy, but still we chase them, and still we make them our priority; houses, clothes, bank accounts, all the trappings of modern life, and even relationships. All these things are good in themselves if they are in the right place in our lives, but not if they are our main focus and take our attention away from the one true thing.; following the Christ who calls us. In saying that he is the Bread of Life, Jesus reminds us that our relationship with him, and the life of the Spirit need to take absolute priority in our lives.
We have been asking each week – are you actually hungry? How high on your priority list is the need for relationship with Jesus Christ, and for the sustaining bread that he offers? Being at Church week by week may not be critical to this deep personal relationship, but it does help us to stay on the right path. As we worship together on this third week about ‘Bread’ we are not only reminded of these priorities, but accountable to one another for our spiritual journeys.
In peace, Mother Lynda