Bread of Life
17 April 2018
In the last couple of weeks, I have become addicted to my new hobby: making sourdough loaves at home! It’s quite a business. Keeping the yeast starter fed. Mixing in the right proportions of rye and bakers’ flour. Folding the dough using the right technique at the right intervals. Baking at the right temperature and humidity. When I get it right, the result is delicious. Good bread adds aroma, flavour, texture and even sound (“the crackle”) to any meal!
In Jesus’ day, bread, rather than the casual indulgence of the hipsterised middle class, was the staple food that stood between the population and starvation. Bread was a matter of life and death.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is engaged in a multi-layered teaching about the bread that God provided for the Israelites in their desert wanderings and the bread that God is providing for the world now. He makes His meaning clear with this statement:
I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never be hungry;
he who believes in me will never thirst.
Jesus had just fed five thousand men with five loaves and two fish. He had demonstrated His power to satisfy their physical hunger. Would the many people drawn to his preaching and miracles allow Him to feed their deeper spiritual hunger, the hunger for eternity?
It’s a good question for us to ponder. When we pray, we often ask for our material needs to be met. No problem there. God cares about every aspect of our lives. But do we pray for more of Jesus Himself? Are we hungry for Him? Hunger for God is where the spiritual life really begins. Let’s pray for the grace to be hungry for the bread of life today.