‘Bread’ for the journey JOHN 6:24–35,
By Juliana Valdez
Bread, a staple in our diet, is filling, nutritious and tasty. Over the years, many varieties have been developed, promoting lifestyle changes through healthier eating. There are many who claim that once they have bread and something to eat with it, they are good to go!
The importance of bread is emphasised when Jesus, in an effort to give His disciples a format to pray, included the plea, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
This could have been the mindset of those who followed Jesus to Capernaum, having been fed a short while before by Jesus through the miraculous provision of bread to appease their hunger. But one can deduce clearly that bread, as physical food, was not only what Jesus meant as He taught them how to pray.
“I tell you most solemnly, you are not looking for me because you have seen the signs but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat,” Jesus said to them.
Signs? Was He referring to His preaching and teaching with authority, the blind He made to see, the deaf who could now hear, lame who walked and curing of those who were afflicted by one ailment or another? Did all this get pushed in the background as their physical hunger pangs took over?
‘Daily bread’ does not just speak to the supplying of physical food, but to the supplying of everything we need to sustain us, materially, emotionally, spiritually. Everything that would ‘feed’ us, enabling us to recognise the signs that we are given daily, as we work in the vineyard of the Lord.
“Do not work for food that cannot last, but work for food that endures to eternal life.”
In answer to the questions by the people as to the ‘how’ of doing the work God wants, Jesus informed them that, “This is working for God: you must believe in the one he has sent.”
How do we do this? We learn from an early age that we serve a mighty God, who made us to know, love and serve Him in this world so that we could be happy with Him in the next.
Our desire should be always to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the One sent by Almighty God, the “for the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
We are encouraged then, to be obedient to all His teachings and the rules He has laid out for Christian living. He led by example!
In our lives, we are provided daily with signs that Jesus is alive and still gives us the ‘bread’ we need to live according to His commands. The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, our dedication and commitment to prayer, our assistance to those in most need, our efforts to grow closer to Him through our scripture reading and reflection, giving thanks to God in every situation….these are just some of the ways we ‘work’ for that bread which will last.
In this season of the global pandemic, God’s faithful people are being tried and tested and the struggle to work for the food that endures is very real. The questions, doubts and frustrations abound.
Yet, the journey continues and Jesus, the Bread of Life, still feeds our hunger and quenches our thirst through Spiritual Communion, providing the sustenance we need to endure, the ‘Bread’ necessary as we continue the journey.
Heavenly Father, give us today and every day, the bread we need to sustain us physically, that we will be strengthened with the grace to continue our work in the vineyard of the Lord, and spiritually that we may be empowered to proclaim that Jesus Christ is indeed our Lord, the Living Bread come down from Heaven. Amen.
The gospel meditations for August are by Juliana Valdez, a retired primary school teacher. She is a mother of two, son Kyle and daughter J’elle, and is actively involved in the life of the Sacred Heart Parish, La Brea.