Gospel text (Jn 6,30-35):
The people said to Jesus, «Show us miraculous signs, that we may see and believe you. What sign do you perform? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert; as Scripture says: ‘They were given bread from heaven to eat’». Jesus then said to them, «Truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven. My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. The bread God gives is the One who comes from heaven and gives life to the world». And they said to him, «Give us this bread always». Jesus said to them, «I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall never be hungry, and whoever believes in me shall never be thirsty».
«My Father gives you the true bread from heaven»
Fr. Joaquim MESEGUER García
(Sant Quirze del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)
Today in Jesus' words we can see both the differentiation and counterpart existing between the Old and the New Testaments: the Old Testament was an expectation of the New Testament and in the New Testament, God's promises to the fathers of the Old Testament are being fulfilled. Thus, the manna the Israelis ate in the desert was not the authentic bread from Heaven, but an anticipated image of the true bread that God, our Father, has given us in the person of Jesus Christ, whom He has sent to us as Saviour of the world. Moses begs for God to give the Israelis physical victuals; Jesus Christ, instead, has given Himself for us as that divine aliment yielding life.
«Show us miraculous signs, that we may see and believe you. What sign do you perform?» (Jn 6:30), the Jews ask unbelieving and irreverent. Do they perhaps consider meaningless the sign of the multiplication of the bread and fish Jesus had accomplished the previous day? Why did they want yesterday to proclaim Jesus as a king while today they do not want to believe him anymore? How often can the human heart change! St. Bernard of Clairvaux said: «It is so that these impious ones wander in a circle, longing after something to gratify their yearnings, yet madly rejecting that which alone can bring them to their desired end, not by exhaustion but by attainment». And so it happened that those Jews, engulfed by a materialistic vision, expected someone who would nourish them and would solve all their problems, but they did not want to believe; this is all they desired out of Jesus. Is not this the idea of he who is only interested in a comfortable religion, tailor-made and without any commitment?
«Lord, give us this bread always» (Jn 6:34): that I may say these words, pronounced by the Jews from their materialistic look at life, with the sincerity faith provides us with; that they truly mean a desire to nurture myself with Jesus Christ and to live closely united to Him forever.