Bread From Heaven


We seek success, but often misunderstand its allure. We seek happiness, but often misunderstand its source. We seek love, but often misunderstand its cost. We seek Jesus, but often misunderstand where we find him, how he nourishes us, who he really is.

When we realize through an encounter with Jesus what it is he desires to give us—bread that lasts—we ask him to “give us this bread always.” But, like the crowd in this gospel, we do not always fully understand what Jesus is actually giving us—not bread but his very Self. This Gift is the work of God; our work is to receive this Gift. [Living Liturgy 2021]

We grow in our understanding of Jesus as the Bread of Life by counting the many ways he nourishes us. He nourishes us through the witness of people who are remarkably self-giving, by the kind word or smile of a stranger, by the challenge to grow that comes from a true friend, by the calming presence of a beloved family member, through our own quiet moments of prayer. In all of these examples we receive life from another. This life is Jesus’ gift of Self. This Life is what we ultimately seek.

Adapted from Renew International Year B

Oh What A Gift!

How often do we spend a great amount of time thinking about what gift to give a loved one for Christmas, birthday, or anniversary! How often is it not true that the only gift a loved one really desires is the gift of ourselves expressed in the giving of time, attention, and presence! Jesus’ gift of himself as “the bread of life” is a gift of eternal Life, boundless care, and abiding Presence.

In this gospel Jesus teaches us the mystery of who he is as “the bread of life.” He is the One who gives himself to us as a pledge of eternal Life, who draws us to himself, who gives himself so that we might live. The mystery of his being the “bread of life” goes beyond all human expectation because the mystery reveals a divine giving of a divine Self.

To receive God’s gift of Life—Jesus as living bread—is to pledge ourselves also to bring that Life of God to others. We are not “come down from heaven”; we have our feet planted firmly on this good earth, giving our own “flesh for the life of the world” through the good we do every day for others

We believe and live the mystery when we give ourselves for the life of others, such as giving time to those who are lonely, giving food to those who are hungry, giving forgiveness to those who have hurt us, giving attention to those who are discouraged, giving patience to those who annoy us. Believing and living the mystery of “the bread of life” means that we, like Jesus, give, give, give . . .

Adapted from PrayerTime: Faith-Sharing Reflections on the Sunday Gospels available at the RENEW International.


Stop the Murmuring

Have you ever received this text on your smartphone: “POS”? Probably not! Not unless you are a teen! Sometimes young people murmur against their parents when they block something the youth want to do. This text:”Parents over shoulder”, warns their friend to be careful of what they text. Parents have the wisdom of experience; they know the consequences of certain actions; “they have been there, done that”. Youth, on the other hand make judgments out of limited knowledge and a need to act on their own. Parents push young people to open themselves to deeper knowledge even though they’ve not yet had experience. In our Gospel today, Jesus pushes his hearers to go beyond their knowledge of him to a deeper experience of him

The Jews in the gospel have heard Jesus speak about himself as “the bread of life” but they cannot get beyond their limited knowledge of Jesus as the son of Joseph. For them, Jesus cannot be the living bread comer down from heaven. He commands them to stop their murmuring and open themselves to new knowledge and understanding about who he is.

It is not an easy task to be faithful disciples, to live the gospel message. It is an ever more difficult task for ourselves to teach as Jesus did. If we are to be true to our call to discipleship, we need Jesus’ words of life to bring us hope and strength.

Our challenge is not to get discouraged, but to hand ourselves over to the nourishment of word and sacrament that God offers us on our journey. That means we open ourselves to the mystery of who Jesus is as the Bread of Life.

I Am the Bread of Life

Last Sunday, the Israelites were grumbling about food; this Sunday the crowd is grumbling about who Jesus says he is. At least today, the grumbling is about what is really important – the identity of Jesus and how we gain eternal life! The surprise this Sunday is how persistent God is in bringing us to new and eternal life. Jesus persists in revealing himself as the bread sent by God to nourish us for our journey to eternal life. And it is not without cost. For Jesus it is the cross. For us it is the bread of suffering. To eat of this bread is to take upon ourselves a life of self-giving. That is why the Gospel is so difficult. We are planted firmly on this good earth – we are to give our very self for the life of the world through the good we do every day for others. No wonder the murmuring.

Every Need is Met

Recently in the news it was reported that, in central Ohio, a ten year old boy caught a 56 pound cod fish in a local water source. And this made national news. “Big” is in. The wondrous and impressive sign that Jesus works in our Gospel today – feeding 5000 with five loaves – might seem like a great fish story that has gotten larger in the telling.

Actually, this story points beyond taking care of the hunger of  “the large crowd” to a time when God’s mighty deeds come to fulfillment – a time when all people are abundantly filled and every need is met.

This miracle story moves us to ponder the great mystery of Jesus as the Bread of Life and his self-giving that enables us to share in it. The challenge is to see our lives through the lens of God’s abundance- the abundance of family and friends, a job, the support and care of others. God’s abundance is all around us.