Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Seeing Jesus  

In today's Gospel reading from John 6:35-40, Jesus continues His discourse on bread. He says, "I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger; and he who believes in Me shall never thirst" (35).

He states this after the crowd had asked Him what sign He would give them in order that they might believe in Him. After all, they say, our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness. The people make reference to several Old Testament scriptures when they say, "It is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat'" (6:31). Jesus makes it clear that it was not Moses who gave them the bread but His Father because the bread of God, which is the bread from Heaven, gives life to the world. Jesus has immediately expanded the Old Testament type of the manna by stating that bread from Heaven gives life to the world. First, it is for the world and not simply for Israel. Second, it gives life. Manna sustained life, but the Bread from Heaven will give life. Recognizing the greatness of this bread, and recalling that Jesus just miraculously fed them(John 6:1-15), the people ask Him to give them this bread.

Jesus replies that He is that Bread of Life. In other words, He is giving Himself to them in order that they might have life. What kind of life does He give? It is a life in which all your needs are met because you do not hunger or thirst. However, then Jesus indicates that they have not accepted Him because He says, "But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe" (36). He is referring to the beginning of His discourse when He rebukes the crowd for looking for Him because they want their fill of bread rather than seeking "the food which endures to eternal life" (6:27). In other words they have seen Him multiply loaves to feed people, but they do not seek the food which the Son of Man will give which gives life.

As Jesus prepares to expand on who the Bread of Life is, He makes it clear that one must see who He is to see the Bread of Life. The Bread of Life is the Eucharist, as Jesus will make clear in the Gospel readings over the next few days. The people had physically seen Jesus, but they did not believe in Him. Similarly, we can see the Eucharist, but not know that it is Jesus. From all appearances it does not look like Jesus, but through faith we know it is Jesus. And He is the Bread of Life that gives life that endures for eternity.

Today's reading concludes with Jesus saying, "For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day" (40). Many today, even as the ones to whom Jesus spoke, see Jesus, but we must see Him and believe in Him. The Eucharist is where we can see Jesus but neither recognize Him or believe in Him. However, it is the Eucharist of which He speaks because Jesus words apply today as much as they did when He spoke them. When Jesus spoke these words, the people could see Him. In other words Jesus is not speaking metaphorically. He is speaking of real, physical sight. Jesus' words applied then and they apply now. How can we physically see Jesus today? We can see Him in the Eucharist. He asks us, as He asked the crowd, to not only see Him, but, by faith, to believe in Him.

Posted by David at 8:04 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 


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