Today we shift to John’s Gospel for a series of Sunday reflections on the bread of life. We will hear these passages as eucharistic, leading us perhaps to focus primarily on Communion. However, John is always inviting us, in the words of the Dameans, to “look beyond the bread you eat … beyond the cup you drink.” We should expect this from the Gospel in which the Last Supper has neither bread nor wine but only a basin and a towel.
John’s Christological question is not “What is the bread of life?” but “Who is Jesus?” Over the next five Sundays (with a Marian solemnity interjecting on the fourth), Jesus’s identity will gradually be revealed: from “the Prophet” to “the bread of life” then “the living bread that came down from heaven” to finally “the Son of Man ascending” back to the Father.John is always inviting us, in the words of the Dameans, to 'look beyond the bread you eat … beyond the cup you drink.' Click To Tweet
Today’s miraculous feeding ends with the crowd wanting to make Jesus a king who provides for their physical need, like the prophet Moses did in the desert. Aren’t we tempted to do that too sometimes? “If I just pray hard enough, God will provide.” “If I believe, there will be a cure.” Jesus can certainly do all this, but he is more than the miracles we desire. Like the crowd, do we follow Jesus because of signs? Or does our faith go deeper?
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
Image credit: Photo by Mael BALLAND on Unsplash.
Read more reflections on the Sunday readings here:
- Avoiding “small-minded” discipleship
- A shift in focus
- At the Crossroads
- Messy but Life-Changing
- True Observance