Mmmmm, yummy bread.
I know where you can get the best.

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

When I came to the Capital Region one of the first things I did was to look for good bread. Which store, which bakery in the area makes the best bread?

Why the search? I searched because bread is basic to life. From my earliest years I was taught to both enjoy bread and to respect it. Of course my Busha made the best bread. We so enjoyed what she created with love. We were also told of hunger – the hunger our parents and grandparents felt during the great depression. Crumbs of bread weren’t wasted; we didn’t let them fall to the floor. More importantly, we were taught that bread is a symbol of Jesus – the Bread of Life that feeds us so we are never hungry. As such, we respected bread.

When I moved into my first house my mother arrived bearing a package of bread and salt – that the house would never know hunger, that there would be flavor to life – a very special blessing and prayer I will always remember. We use the same symbols when our bishops visit us – to welcome them.

The Israelites were in trouble and they hungered in bondage in Egypt. God set about to free them, not just from bondage, but to truly free them. When Moses stood before the burning bush he asked God about His name and God said “I Am.” Tell the Israelites: “I Am has sent me to You.” God sent me to you to free you.

Jesus faces much of the same questioning today. He’s fed the multitude, done amazing signs, yet people keep asking – who are You? Jesus again uses the phrase “I Am,” this time referring to Himself as the Bread of Life.

Jesus says “I Am.” He is God – all powerful, Almighty, to be worshiped, adored, served, believed in, and listened to. Better than that, He is God who knows and understands us because He became man – He felt all our joys and triumphs as well as our tribulations, sufferings, and tears. Particularly, He felt our hunger.

God knows us and knows that we hunger, not as much for food and water – although there are still too many who go without – but at a more basic level.

So Jesus came to us to truly free us. He didn’t just come to perform signs and feed us for a day – but to feed us with all we need – and to make it last forever. Remember the one place with the best bread.