Strength of Faith
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, â€˜How can this man give us his flesh to eat?â€™ So Jesus said to them, â€˜Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.â€™
Over the months of Ordinary Time, a time dedicated to growth, we focus on how we live out the Christian faith, how we walk in Strength of Faith. Remember, we are focusing on our Strength of Faith.
Over these past few weeks, in Johnâ€™s gospel account, we see a steady progression from a feeding with the dayâ€™s bread as Jesus multiplies and distributes it, to a teaching on the true meaning of our daily bread, an everlasting feeding with the bread that came down from heaven.
See the change in tone from the dayâ€™s bread to our daily bread. See the power of the food Jesus provides â€“ a food that does not perish or waste, a food so abundant that no one who wants it will go hungry. A food so powerful it gives us life.
A dayâ€™s bread, the stuff we put on our tables, the ordinary food needed for life will sustain us for a period. Our daily bread however is all that comes forth from God, and most particularly He Who came forth from the Father, Jesus, the Son of God. It has eternal power and life in it.
Who doesnâ€™t love a banquet invitation? We get them for weddings, anniversaries, our parish centennial, and special birthdays. We send our RSVP in the mail and make our food choices. We anticipate the celebration and the exquisite hors dâ€™oeuvres and main course. We go to celebrate and receive a portion of the dayâ€™s bread. Iâ€™ve eaten great bread of the day and Iâ€™ve had some doozy rubber chickens at banquets. Funny how I can remember the bad dayâ€™s food so clearly. Better that I remember the great food here at the Lordâ€™s table. Here I have life.
Proverbs tells us that God has prepared a banquet and in Jesus that is true. He is the banquet. What He feeds us on is certainly the Holy Eucharist, the flesh and blood we eat and drink in communion, but not just limited to that. That would make His bread too small. His daily bread is the complete food we need. It is His complete self â€“ flesh, blood, words, teaching, and way of living.
Jesus echoes Proverbs when He invites us to RSVP and show up for His daily bread. Answering yes on the RSVP and showing up has broad consequences for our whole lives. Those who accept the invitation must eat and drink of the entire daily bread, thereby choosing to â€œlive.â€ We chose to live now and eternally by walking the gospel path in strength of faith.
In the Our Father we ask for our daily bread. The Father gives us Jesus, the perfect daily bread. As we partake of Jesus, Who gives us true life, let us open ourselves to share Him with a world that is so very hungry for life. As Jesus withheld nothing, so let our faith be so strong we never hesitate to proclaim and share Jesus – our daily bread.