Jesus - for you we hunger
GOD'S WORD TODAY (The Philippine Star) - August 5, 2012 - 12:00am

In our Gospel today Jesus proclaims, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

While the Lord God provided the wandering Israelites with manna in the desert, the heavenly bread satiated hunger only temporarily. Jesus offers bread that satisfies our hungers permanently. Jesus offers himself and promises that all who partake of him will hunger or thirst no more.

What Jesus does not mean.

Not his earthly flesh. The listeners of Jesus scoffed at his offer, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” (Jn. 6:52). Similarly, the Romans ridiculed the early Christians about whom they heard gathered every Sunday to consume the flesh of their crucified redeemer. The Eucharistic bread and wine that Jesus offers us does not refer to his earthly flesh and blood, but rather to his risen and glorified body, to his Mystical Body into which we are incorporated.

Not exemption from suffering. The promise of eternal life does not mean exemption from earthly suffering and death. Some of our terminally ill loved ones may have been regular Mass-goers; nonetheless, despite their frequent reception of the Lord in the Eucharist, they may not have been spared from grueling pain and eventual death.

The Eucharist is not a miracle drug that extends our lives because of our completion of our novena of Masses. Whatever our physical or psychological condition, we present ourselves and all that we are going through to the Lord, surrendering our lives to God and to God’s will, whether it be to heal and restore us or to invite us to embrace suffering and pain with faith and love as Jesus did on the cross.

What Jesus means.

Believing in him. To eat the bread that Jesus offers is “to believe in the one he sent” (Jn.6:29). To believe in Jesus as Lord is first to that we cannot save ourselves. Despite our rationality and staunch will, we succumb to sin and temptation, we hurt our loved ones, and we ruin our lives and those of others. While our scientific and technological discoveries have brought about progress, we have also caused irreparable damage to our world. Despite our brilliant economic blueprints and political theories, we have not abolished hunger and inequity, wars and woes.

Humanity cannot save itself from itself. Yes, we commit ourselves to do all we can to improve the human condition, but in the end, we know only God can redeem us. Blessed are we who have come to know our Redeemer in Jesus Christ.

Abiding in him. However, to eat the bread that Jesus offers does not only entail believing in him as Lord, source of everlasting life. To eat the bread that Jesus offers is to be incorporated into his Mystical Body and to abide in him, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” Thus, faith in Jesus involves not only intellectual assent, but also moral praxis – following in his footsteps, embracing his values and convictions, loving boundlessly and magnanimously.

Lest we think that our renewal and redemption depends on our sheer will to follow Jesus, we must bear in mind that the work of our redemption is God’s initiative, divine grace operating within us. The Eucharist is God’s offer of himself to us. In partaking of the bread Jesus offers, God gives himself to us, God abides in us, healing and transforming us, drawing and elevating us into God’s life.

Adoring him. To receive the bread of life that Jesus offers is to adore him in the Eucharist. Last August 3, 2012, we commemorated the third death anniversary of President Corazon C. Aquino. Tita Cory loved the Eucharist. She loved Jesus in the Eucharist. In the throes of death, she yearned for Jesus in the Eucharist. In the midst of harrowing pain, she embraced her suffering and offered her pain for our nation, knowing that she was being more and more conformed to Jesus crucified and risen whom she adored.

To receive the bread that Jesus offers is to place our faith in him as the One who alone can fulfill our deepest desires, to abide in him by humbly serving others, and to adore him, allowing grace to conform us to whom we contemplate and love. As Mother Teresa of Calcuta writes, “In each of our lives Jesus comes as the Bread of Life – to be eaten, to be consumed by us. This is how He loves us. Then Jesus comes in our human life as the hungry one, the other, hoping to be fed with the Bread of our life, our hearts by loving,

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with