Food for Eternal Life

by Deacon Lorna Goodison on July 29, 2021

Last Sunday we read the story of the feeding of five thousand.  Being a part of that fellowship participating in Jesus’ miraculous multiplication of five loaves and two fish must have been an exhilarating experience. This Sunday the narrative (John 6:24-35) continues with Jesus crossing over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. The crowd found Jesus, hoping he would feed them miraculously again, repeating their uplifting experience. But they misunderstood the spiritual purpose of the miracle.

Jesus, therefore, challenged his hearers, “do not work for food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life which the Son of Man will give you.” Jesus knows our need for the physical bread of this world but invites us not to make that be our passion. Instead, we are invited to be attentive to the needs of the soul, the spirit which lives eternally. Jesus is the divine Bread from heaven, who although he meets our physical needs, is far more concerned with reconciling us, our souls, with God. Our work is to allow ourselves to be nourished by Christ’s teachings so we grow in faith, believing that Jesus is the Son of God who came to offer us grace and forgiveness, so we may partake of eternal life in God’s presence.  Just as God provided manna from heaven as a daily gift to sustain the Hebrew people in their wilderness journey, how much more exceedingly abundantly priceless is God’s gift of His Son Jesus who came from heaven as the True and Living Bread, food for eternal life!

In this world, we need food that sustains us and keeps us from despair. We need food that brings us hope and strength. Jesus offers us the food of his teachings and the food of his own body. We are fed and sustained as we “read, mark and inwardly digest” the word of God as written in the sacred scriptures. We are fed and sustained when we gather in a bond of common unity and fellowship to hear God’s word in the liturgy and feed on His Body given sacrificially for us when we share in Holy Communion. May we like Peter declare, “You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68)

Tags: faith, hope, strength, eternal life, food, nourishment

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