Thursday, Third Week of Easter

John 6:44-51

‘Your fathers ate the manna in the desert and they are dead; but this is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that a man may eat it and not die.’

It’s worth reading the whole of the Bread of Life discourse (John 6:22-66) in one sitting to get a sense of the flow of the argument. Some parts are very familiar and it is easy to miss them.

When Jesus speaks of manna he is reminding his hearers of the formative time in the desert when the Israelites relied directly on the providence of God. Jewish scholars say that the manna was thought to taste like whatever food one most craved. I like this detail. It speaks to me of a God who knows us and provides for our individual needs.

In the Eucharist Jesus offers us something even greater than manna. He offers us something that will sustain us now and always. While this is a gift which is personal to each of us, it is also a gift with a communal dimension. Benedictine, Godfrey Diekmann, sums this up in a sentence:

“What difference does it make if the bread and wine turn into the Body and Blood of Christ and we don’t?”

The Eucharist invites us to become what we receive. How can you do this today?