The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘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. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’ He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
Don’t you think it is appropriate that the reading for our day of fasting would focus on spiritual food? Jesus is challenging the people with a deeply spiritual and theological reality…he is in fact the spiritual bread of life that will nourish our souls and feed our spirits.
Remember, your fast today will be designed to challenge your daily schedule so you will be reminded to focus more significantly on God’s will for your life. It is not punishment, not weight loss, and not a way to gain more stars in your crown. It is a way to intentionally discipline our lives so we remember that God is with us. As always, you could choose food, television, talking, technology, or you name it…God will find a way to use your commitment of faith.
The conversation about the true bread of heaven continues in this passage. In fact, most of chapter six is about bread in one way or another. It is either physical bread or spiritual bread. But the essential truth really comes at the end of this passage. In the past, people ate bread (manna) and still died. Now we have a unique opportunity to feed on the spiritual bread that takes shape through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. When we eat the ‘bread’ of Jesus we discover life that is everlasting.
Two simple reflective questions come to mind: First, do you know the everlasting life that is offered through the life of Jesus? Second, what difference does it make in the way you live your life?