As the Year of Faith quickly approaches, the Church presents us with the Bread of Life Discourse which will take us up to the last Sunday of August.
In this discourse, Jesus will reveal that He is the source of true nourishment and that every bodily and spiritual longing is satisfied in Him alone. This is truth at its core because it invites us to revisit our belief that the bread we receive is not WHAT (bread and wine) , but WHO (body, blood, soul, and divinity of God).
And if we could take it one step further! Upon gathering the multitude, Jesus invited the people to recline and the scripture states, “there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number” (John 6.10).
Where else do see this image of reclining amidst a plenitude of grass? It’s found in the psalms, “The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me; he restores my soul. He guides me along right paths for the sake of his name” (Psalm 23.1-3).
John’s pericope is more than just another miracle of Jesus! Jesus reminds us that He is the Good Shepherd who will always provide for what we need, He will always lead us to that place where we will find refreshment, peace, and restoration – to that place where we can recline in the lush grasses of heaven. He does not feed us with the wealth of this world, popularity, the need for materialism, fame or success. Rather, he feeds us with his very self: bread that satisfies the depths of the human heart. It is a meal that we never come to alone. It is liturgy where God gathers his flock to tap into that one saving event that redeems all of creation to be under the rule of one Lord, in one faith, in one baptism (cf. Ephesians 4.1-6).
As Psalm 45 proclaimed yesterday, “The hand of the Lord feeds us, he answers all our needs.” He will feed us and satisfy us if we let Him.