People go looking for Jesus because they want a free meal. Jesus took the opportunity to teach the crowd about the food that really matters, the Bread of Life that God provides.
In last week’s Gospel in the Feeding of the Five Thousand we heard about how Jesus looked after the physical needs of people (John 6:1-15). The message from this was just as God took care of the physical needs of people so we too are called to take care of each other in the same way. In this week’s Gospel Jesus takes us to another level (John 6:24-35). In referring to himself as the Bread of Life, Jesus says he can take care of our every need. The reason is only he can offer us eternal life.
When Jesus talks about being the Bread of Life, he is in effect calling us forward to take on the new life that he is offering us. This involves moving forward in trust believing that God will not let us down regardless of what might be taking place in our lives at any particular time. This was the challenge faced by the people in the First Reading and they were struggling (2 Kings 4:42-44). They were looking back towards their old life in Egypt. They had forgotten how God had provided for them by delivering them from slavery. They started turning against God because in their minds things were not going to plan. Can do we do this too? Do we sometimes take the attitude that God is only good and worthy of our trust when everything in our lives is going our way?
At the end of the Gospel the people ask Jesus ‘give us that bread always.’ This shows that, despite Jesus having explained to the crowd that he is the one can satisfy their every hunger and thirst, they still do not understand. Will we recognise that Christ, the Bread of Life, is with us always and will provide all that we ever really need?