The Gospel today begins with a response from the Jewish people that seems unfounded.
Jesus had just finished performing a great miracle in their midst and afterwards reveals His identity to them: He is the bread of life which comes down from Heaven.
One would think that after witnessing the miracles, the people would believe the words of Christ, however, the people responded to Jesus’ claim with disbelief. They could not believe or understand how Jesus could be from Heaven. Didn’t they know His family, know His parents and where He had come from?
But Jesus doesn’t mince His words with this teaching. In the Gospel, He goes on to tell the crowd, “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.”
Christ is the living bread, who gives Himself to us to eat, so that through Him we may have eternal life. This teaching is the core of our belief in the Eucharist – that God loves us so much that He wants to give us the gift of himself, food that will last forever.
This love that God has for His people is a deep and special one. As Catholics, we believe that receiving Jesus in the Eucharist leads us to eternal life. Through the Eucharist, we are given every grace needed to journey in this life and make our way to Him in the next.
How often do we participate worthily in the Mass and receive the living bread? How often do we take the graces we receive and share them with others as Christ calls us to? This week let us in a particular way pray that Christ touches the hearts of those who struggle with faith in the Eucharist – that they may come to the Lord and receive His many blessings.
The people who came to hear Jesus began to question Him when Jesus reveals to them that He is the bread of life which came from Heaven. They could not understand how Jesus could be from Heaven and how His flesh would become the means to eternal life for them all. We now understand that Jesus was speaking of the Eucharist, which through the appearance of bread and wine, nourishes us with Christ’s body and blood, soul and divinity, giving us all the graces needed to live a life of Christian stewardship.
This reflections is based on the readings for the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B: Kings 19.4-8; Ephesians 4.30-5.2; and John 6.41-51.
The Parish Vitality and Stewardship team has produced stewardship reflections based on the readings for every Sunday of the year, which you can read here.