Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter
“Give us this bread always!” the people said, without having any idea how God might choose to answer their prayer. What was it again that they hungered for? Righteousness: to see the will of God done in their lives and in the world. Jesus responds to their prayer by offering Himself: I am the bread come down from Heaven…
He goes on: …I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. The will of the one who sent Him is that He not lose anything of what He gave Jesus, but that He should raise it on the last day. What was it that God gave to Jesus? Humanity: a human nature. There is not one hair, one cell that Jesus should reject, for His human nature was given to Him by the Father that Christ, by His perfect fidelity to the Father, might restore, exalt and raise up fallen humanity, starting with Himself. Not only does the Father give Jesus a human nature all His own, but God gives Him all mankind, as is alluded to at the Last Supper when Jesus says, “Father, they are your gift to me…” (Jn. 17:24) and “…this is my Blood…which will be shed for many…” (Mt. 26:28)
Jesus offers Himself in answer to the prayer of the people for the Bread of Heaven, and tells them that they are already His: Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me. This is covenantal language, echoing God’s words from ancient days: You will be my people, and I will be your God. Yet in Jesus’ words today we do not hear promise and prophecy, but rather reality; it is not “you will be mine and I will be yours” but rather “you are mine, and I am yours.” Bearing in mind the gift that Jesus makes of Himself, let us approach Him in the Eucharist, seeing Him and believing in our hearts that just as He fully embraced the gift of His God-given humanity—even unto the Cross—He fully embraces us in our own.He will not reject us, for we were given to Him by His heavenly Father. How could He possibly refuse?