Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter
The crowd is clearly intrigued by Jesus’ response to their question about the works of God and His mention of a food that feeds unto eternal life. Some of them begin to hope that perhaps He is a new Moses, here to lead them on the path to righteousness, one who can give them the fulfillment they truly desire. The similarity between His feeding them in the desert and the miraculous manna that fed their ancestors does not escape them, and so they seek a sign as proof that Jesus is truly a man sent by God. If He can show them that He can perform signs and miracles, then they could believe in Him; after all for many seeing is believing.
They seek to test Jesus but He tests them first, reminding them that it was God who fed their ancestors, not Moses; for if they are likening His feeding of five-thousand to the manna, then they are claiming that Jesus is not merely a man, but is God. The Lord reminds them of this reality as a way of asking, “Do you truly know what you are saying?” As if to say “Amen” the crowd’s response is “Sir, give us this bread always!”
Be careful what you pray for.
Jesus, seeing the yearning in their hearts, answers their plea by offering Himself, just as He does for us at every Mass, saying “I AM the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” He submits to the test not by just speaking of God’s love for us, not by purchasing our love with miracles; we asked for a sign, something to make God’s invisible love visible. Therefore, God so loved us He gave His only Son; that we may see and believe God—incarnate in Jesus—gives us Himself. When we say at Mass, “Lord, I am not worthy…say but a word and my soul shall be healed” we are asking for a sign, as if to say did you not heal the paralytic with but a word? He then, by the tongue of His minister, says, “The Body of Christ,” as if to ask you, “Do you know what you are saying? Take, and eat; consume the Word of everlasting life.” Let your Amen, then, mean as the people meant: Sir, give us this bread always!”