Jesus addressed the crowd, «No one can come to me unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise him up on the last day. It has been written in the Prophets: They shall all be taught by God. So whoever listens and learns from the Father comes to me. For no one has seen the Father except the One who comes from God; He has seen the Father. Truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Though your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, they died. But here you have the bread which comes from heaven so that you may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which has come from heaven; whoever eats of this bread will live forever. The bread I shall give is my flesh and I will give it for the life of the world».
Saint Gregory the great while writing about the first post resurrection apparition to Mary Madeline, will say, ‘who is searched, is the one who has made her to search for him.’ How true it is that Jesus affirms this in this gospel. If we have faith, if we are given to believe, it is God Himself has accorded this grace of divine knowledge which allows us to search for Him and He allows us to find Him. If He allows us to find Him, then He certainly needs us and wishes to entrust us a mission, and we in turn become ‘the sent’ by the Lord, carriers of Good News, just like Mary Madeline was sent to the Apostles.
Though it is God himself who has taken the first step, it is important however that we be prepared to receive Him, like the disciples of Emmaus, and today the way Philippe is welcomed and received with great joy. This openness to the newness of life and find this newness in everywhere has to be cultivated by us.
Many of us see what we have already seen and just pass a statement without identifying the newness of the event or the encounter. All that happens to us, and practically, everything seems to be repetitive and similar to what we have already seen. It is here we miss the mark and beat around the busy without any orientation or concentration. Without this openness of mind and spirit we can’t see the newness of life in us and through us what happens outside of us.
Every Eucharistic celebration is a new life given to us. Every time we celebrate this great event, we get new energy and force to live the day. It is here God configures each and every one us in Christ and we become Christ send by God. To come to this status we need patience and allow God to work in us. We should believe that the same God who has given His only begotten Son on the Cross, is always there waiting for us to respond to His initiative. Are we ready to respond positively to His call?
«I am the living bread which has come from heaven»
Fr. Pere MONTAGUT i Piquet
Today, we sing to the Lord whom we receive the glory and the triumph from. The Risen Lord presents himself to his Church with that «I am whom I am» that identifies him as a source of salvation: «I am the bread of life» (Jn 6:48). The community gathered around Him who is Alive, by way of thanks, lovingly recognizes him and accepts God's instruction, now known as the Father's teachings. Christ, immortal and glorious reminds us again that the Father is the true protagonist of everything. Those who listen and believe live in communion with Him who comes from God, with the only one who has seen him and, thus, faith is the very beginning of eternal life.
The living bread is Jesus. It is not nourishment we assimilate for us but that assimilates us. It makes us feel hungry for God, thirsty for listening to his Word, which is, our heart's rejoicing and joy. The Eucharist is an anticipation of the heavenly glory: «We divide the bread, the medicine of immortality, the antidote we take in order not to die but to live forever in Jesus Christ» (Saint Ignatius of Antioch). Our communion with the flesh of Christ risen must get us used to all that comes down from Heaven, that is, to beg, receive and assume our true condition: we are made for God and only him can fully satisfy our hunger.
But this living bread will not only one day make us live beyond our physical death, but we receive it now «for the life of the world» (Jn 6:51). The Father's design, who did not create us to die, is tied to love and faith. He demands a present, free and personal reply to his initiative. Each time we eat from that bread, let us go deeper into the very Love! We do not live anymore for ourselves, we do not live anymore in error. The world is precious because there is He who keeps on loving it to the end, because there is a Sacrifice out of which we all benefit, even those who ignore it.