Tuesday, Third Week of Easter

John 6:30-35

‘Sir,’ they said ‘give us that bread always.’
Jesus answered:
‘I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never be hungry;
he who believes in me will never thirst.’

These texts from John’s Gospel are so familiar that I often find myself letting them wash over me. Today I noticed something new. The disciples want to be assured that they will always be given the bread that Jesus is offering: ‘Sir, they said ‘give us that bread always.’ Something similar happens in the story of the Samaritan woman when we hear her say: ‘Sir, give me some of that water, so that I may never be thirsty or come here again to draw water.’ The disciples and the Samaritan woman have encountered Jesus in profound and personal ways and so it is natural that they want to hold onto that source of life.

In this desire to hold onto sources of life I am reminded of the excellent introduction to Ignatian Spirituality, Sleeping with Bread, a book by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn and Matthew Linn S.J. In the introduction they write:

‘During the bombing raids of World War II, thousands of children were orphaned and left to starve. The fortunate ones were rescued and placed in refugee camps where they received food and good care. But many of these children who had lost so much could not sleep at night. They feared waking up to find themselves once again homeless and without food. Nothing seemed to reassure them. Finally, someone hit upon the idea of giving each child a piece of bread to hold at bedtime. Holding their bread, these children could finally sleep in peace. All through the night the bread reminded them, ‘Today I ate and I will eat again tomorrow.’

The book is very worth reading just for the introduction alone. I find myself thinking about all the things that are sources of reassurance for me as an adult. Jesus as Bread of Life comes to me in many different ways.

How do you encounter Jesus, the Bread of Life?