“I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
Jn 6: 41-51
This discourse took place shortly after the feeding of the multitude episode (in which Jesus feeds the crowds with five loaves of bread and two fish) after which the crowds watch as Jesus walks to the other side of lake (where Jesus walked on water). Early in the Gospel, we read about the people murmuring and checking out the details of Jesus’ life. Knowing the humble origins of Jesus, they began to doubt. This is also happening today, rejection comes with being a follower of Christ. People will question our motives and plans, regardless of our sincerity and authencity. Thus, as leaders, it is important that we should be firm and strong. We should be able to lead by example. We are called to be the messengers, not necessarily by what we preach, but more by what we practice in faith.
Further in the reading, Jesus gave us a beautiful analogy of Himself and bread. Bread, being staple food among the early Hebrew community, is important in sustaining life. Here the Lord mentioned about the temporal nature of earthly bread, but that with Himself the Bread of Life, we will live forever. What a beautiful promise indeed!
All this was made by Jesus while being rejected by the community. Jesus didn’t mind the oppression, but He persisted. He persevered. He pressed on! The message must be proclaimed, regardless of the circumstances. Jesus preached the Gospel in good times and as well as in bad. Never mind if others don’t understand, the message must be spread, regardless. For Jesus, time is essential. The moment is now. This showed the commitment of Jesus to follow the Father’s will. He understood and was committed completely to His mission. No ifs, no buts.
This is a challenge for us because sometimes, we are guilty of becoming afraid when the going gets tough. We are uncomfortable in proclaiming our faith whenever there are objections. Whenever there’s difficulty, we shy away and become fearful. This is the challenge for us: to be more faithful in our calling to proclaim the Kingdom, whatever our situation in life is.
Now, this is another dimension to what Jesus meant when He said, “Do not be afraid”. Hopefully, our faith will be strengthened all the more by the Lord’s assurance and our subsequent sharing of the Bread with others, and thus will feed on our faith. Our gestures and acts of faithfulness to the Lord will allow us to experience some more the awesome majesty of God. In the end, we look with hope to what the Psalmist said, “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord”.
Today, let us re-dedicate ourselves to Jesus. May we be able to know Him in a more intimate way, so that we will be able to boldly share His message of love to this weary world. Let’s do it. Now.