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Irish Pastoral Centre: I am the Bread of Life

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In today’s Gospel, we hear the continuation of John’s account of Jesus trying to explain to his Jewish kinsmen that he is more than they know. He is more than the bread which fed their ancestors in the desert. He continues to make “I am” statements about his true identity and his listeners continue their struggling with this new concept.

Jesus, who set the table with six loaves and two fish in order to feed thousands, now sets the table of faith containing new wine. He invites the “simple” to turn in and eat. He is inviting those who lack understanding to slide their knees under his board and drink more deeply. “Where our feeble senses fail” to convince our hungry minds, Jesus invites us to not be impatient and judge the meal by the first course or even the table setting.

Jesus’ listeners see his flesh and know there is blood keeping the flesh alive. This is the first course; it is what we see. Jesus is inviting them to wait for the next servings, but they keep clinging to their plates and demanding second helpings, more of the same, keeping everything on the sense level.
The Jews here are hungry for wisdom; they are people of good hearts and minds. They resist their being fooled. They continue to shake their heads as Jesus continues nodding his, insisting that he can give them eternal life through their taking him interiorly, as one does when eating. As long as they argue and grumble, their mouths are filled with what they are serving; they demand immediate proof and understanding.

With Jesus, everything is an invitation to “come and see.”

Larry Gillick, S. J. Collaborative Ministries

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