The Jews murmured about Jesus because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven,” and they said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? Then how can he say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
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UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Meals are more than a stop to refuel our bodies. They can be a real art, a time to deepen relationships. We prepare the food carefully, set the table, cultivate good manners and good conversation. Behind the simple act of eating is a way to renew the human relationships which bring us to the table in the first place.
Today we continue our five-week look at the sixth chapter of John, where Jesus is portrayed as the “Bread of Life.” In that chapter, people ask him for a sign, like the manna in the desert of Moses’ time. Jesus’ reply? He himself is the “bread of life.”
In today’s Gospel the people “murmur” and accuse Jesus of arrogance—or worse. Jesus replies that he has come to give them his “flesh for the life of the world.” He offers them the very life of God, a life that will enable them to live forever.
Jesus’ words shock his hearers. To us, the words are familiar. We believe that in the Eucharist we celebrate each Sunday is the crucified and risen Jesus Christ himself, drawing us to himself. And yet how easy it is to take all this for granted, to make Sunday Mass just something else we do. Let’s allow this summer meditation on the Bread of Life to renew our faith and our enthusiastic response to Christ.
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DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
In the first reading (1Kgs 19:4-8), why was Elijah fleeing from Queen Jezebel? What had he done?
Where did Elijah go?
Who brought him food and drink so he could walk for forty 40 days to Mt. Horeb (Sinai)?
In this week’s second reading (Eph 4:30-5:2), Paul urges the people to get rid of a whole lot of stuff. What are some examples?
What attitudes does he want them to develop?
We hear in the Gospel (Jn 6:41-51) that people had trouble understanding something Jesus had said. What was that?
Jesus repeats what the people did not like. What was it?
Do you receive the bread of life at Mass?
Talk a walk like Elijah did in the first reading and find a tree under which to have a picnic lunch or just rest.
Listen to the song, “I Am the Bread of Life” by Suzanne Toolan.