Over the course of the summer in the Catholic churches, and I think in other churches as well, we have had the opportunity to reflect on Chapter 6 of John’s gospel. Sometimes this chapter is called the bread of life gospel because Jesus is referred to as the living bread come down from Heaven offering himself as life for the world.
The five weekends that this chapter is read in church offers us a sort of mini-retreat to renew ourselves in one of the central mysteries of our faith — the gift of Jesus and our relationship with him in prayer and service to him in helping brothers and sisters in need.
The beginning of this chapter of the gospel shows us the compassion of Jesus as he multiplies the loaves and fishes and feeds the many people that came out to see and hear him in that deserted place. John in his gospel sees this miracle as a sign that Jesus is more than just a free lunch, but he is the real stuff of life, the one sent by the father who offers himself as life for the world.
In one of the verses Jesus says that we should be working not only for daily bread to feed our bodies but food to feed our souls to be nourished in the spirit life that he offers to us.
As we look at the world around us today we see many who are hungry in body and we thank god or the many groups that assist those in need in our community. We also know that many are hungry in spirit and searching for meaning and purpose in life.. Sometimes when we look at the state of our world with all the mayhem in it with natural and human disasters we wonder about a caring and a loving god . But it’s to just such a world that god has been sent to offer us life, hope and new beginnings.
As one of the prayers in the old missal of 1972 said “In Him a broken world has been renewed and we are once again made whole.” Peter in one of the memorable passages from this chapter says: “Lord, to whom shall we go, you have the words of everlasting life.”
Peter has the realization that all of the pleasures OFA passing world pale in comparison to being in relationship with Jesus the true life of the world.
A holy card that was once sent to me said “Christ has no body on earth but yours, yours are the eyes thru which he looks out with compassion on the world and yours the hands and feet thru which he chooses to do good.” May we continue to celebrate and live the mystery of Christ with and within us every day.