So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” John 6:41-51
As one who bakes bread and love it, and learned to bake bread with my mother, I can attest to the life giving power of bread. I know for some, it is poison. As for others of us, bread baking smells like home. It's rich velvety skin as it is being kneaded is a pleasant tactile experience as well as being real physical work. The rising bread, actually breathing and growing is miraculous to observe. Bread can enhance a meal and shared can make a friendship.
Jesus is being challenged by the religious leadership. They know him solely as the son of Mary and Joseph. Some might have known him as a normal kid in the neighborhood. None have witnessed his growth and full potential, and consider his words hollow rhetoric. But to those gathered round who had tasted and seen the new life within themselves, the healing and the transformation, they know his words are true. Even more, his words are comfort and promise to those who have been hungry and abandoned for so long. Jesus invites us to take his words as a true promise that we will be fed and renewed, we will be made whole and part of a loving community.
Today, I ask God to help me trust in that living bread, the life giving love of Christ. May we remember all the blessings we have and rejoice in the promises we have. May God's love feed and strengthen us today so that we might go into the world sharing the love we have received.