God loves the world so much that His love has no limits, no boundaries. God’s love is so wonderful. Often we do not know how to use that love or respond to that love. We are slow learners. God constantly teaches us through signs, symbols, examples and miracles. He sends prophets and teachers to help us. The greatest of them is His own Son, Jesus the Christ. Given from above, Jesus is given to us completely as food for the spirit and as food for the body. So that anyone who desires to receive him; He is accessible and available.
The lesson from the life of Elijah the prophet, 1 Kings 19:4-8, is an example to see how we fail to understand God and his message. Called to minister as God’s prophet during the first half of 9th century B.C., Elijah had to confront the idolatry in Israel. Worship of Ball was popular. Jezebel, wife of King Ahab, and a devotee of Ball, was infuriated by the power of Elijah and his God. Jezebel threatened to kill Elijah, 1 Kings 19:2. Fearful for his life Elijah fled into the desert. He felt helpless. Discouraged, tired and depressed he wished to be dead. But God did not fail in His love for His servant, Elijah. God sent an angel to take care of Elijah. Fed by the angel and led by that strength Elijah went up to the mountain of God, Horeb (or Sinai) where he had an intimate encounter with God. God always cares for and provides for those who love God; it may not be according to our timings and expectations.
In the gospel, John 6:41-51, we see how people failed to understand Jesus. They looked at Jesus with all limitations. Their own limitations they applied to Jesus. They failed to understand beyond that. It is too bad that many don’t understand even now. Jesus taught people with explanations, stories and parables. Sometimes it was straight talk about important truths such as God is good, sin is bad. Simple direct statements about what is really important in life can make us stop and take notice.
Jesus refers to the manna which the ancestors ate. People believed that it was a gift from God. That was an example of divine providence, and of God’s commitment to provide for the people whenever they were in need. Jesus did that in feeding the multitudes, and through many other signs.
Having prepared the people with teaching about the living bread and demonstrated his divine power through the feeding of the crowd with miraculous bread, he now speaks plainly as to who he is; “I am the bread that came down from heaven. I am the bread of life. I am the living bread.” Beyond the elements of time, place, and people involved, there is Jesus – Jesus present to us.
Receive the bread of life and enter into communion with the living God.