Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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Living bread provides life to the world
Based on the Gospel of John 6:41-51
Mistaken identity – confusion and complaining!
In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus declares he is the Bread of Life come down from heaven. The people listening are confused. They see Jesus as a human being – a competent carpenter who has become a gifted teacher and compassionate healer. Now Jesus speaks of being the Son of God. They complain, criticize and don’t grasp his spiritual message. Jesus was inviting them, and invites us, to something deeper.
Jesus says, “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.”
Pope Benedict XVI, in his 2007 Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity) stated, “And because the world is ‘the field’ (Mt 13:38) in which God plants his children as good seed, the Christian laity, by virtue of their baptism and confirmation, and strengthened by the Eucharist, are called to live out the radical newness brought by Christ wherever they find themselves. They should cultivate a desire that the Eucharist have an ever-deeper effect on their daily lives, making them convincing witnesses in the workplace and in society at large. (No. 79)
“Our communities, when they celebrate the Eucharist, must become ever more conscious that the sacrifice of Christ is for all, and that the Eucharist thus compels all who believe in him to become ‘bread that is broken’ for others, and to work for the building of a more just and fraternal world. Keeping in mind the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, we need to realize that Christ continues today to exhort his disciples to become personally engaged: ‘You yourselves, give them something to eat’ (Mt 14:16). Each of us is truly called, together with Jesus, to be bread broken for the life of the world.” (No. 88)
The Holy Father’s mission intention for August is: Youth Witness to Christ. That young people, called to follow Christ, may be willing to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
From the Apostleship of Prayer’s reflections on the Holy Father’s August prayer intentions, we hear that Pope Benedict is calling young people to the mission of the church – challenging them “to stay close to Jesus, to know him and his love in a deeper way so that they may be filled with a joy that is, in the pope’s words, ‘contagious.’”
Jesus, you are the Bread of Life. Teach us to be generous receivers of your life-giving grace, and help us to be generous givers of your love and all that you want us to share with others.