Although the verses read as today’s Gospel reading come from an earlier part of the Gospel according to St. John, the theme of that passage fits well into the Easter Season. If we think prayerfully about it I think you can see that it is possible to understand it on several levels. In the original context of these verses I think that Jesus was speaking of bread as representing the spirit of his teaching about God and about love.
When those words were spoken at the synagogue in Capernaum nobody would have understood them as we can today. At most it might only have been seen in terms of the love that God has for us, and the love that we have for one another.
Only when we think about it prayerfully can the Gospel Reading for today’s Eucharist be understood as referring to the Bread and Wine of the Holy Eucharist as Jesus presence with us and for us in the Holy Eucharist, as well as being his presence with us in his teaching. But that would be reading a later meaning into it than either Jesus or St. John may have intended originally when those words were first spoken..
In order to see the original context of today’s Gospel reading we need to look back to the middle of Chapter 6 of John’s Gospel, beginning about verse 22, and especially beginning with verse 25.
Jesus tried to make it clear to all of those people who had sought him at Capernaum that they needed to do the work of God, and to believe in him whom God the Father had sent into the world. Numberless various repetitions of that statement showed that it was not the time for those people to respond to the call of Jesus.
As we who have responded to that call in faith know, it is the gifts if the Holy Spirit that open to those who truly believe, the answers that those people were seeking.
Growth in faith happens in many ways, sometimes quickly, and sometimes slowly. As we grow in faith it is steadfastness that pays in the long run. When we do reach different levels of understanding about these things let us give thanks to God that in the Church there are many opportunities for growth in faith. Do you give thanks for your growth at each level of understanding?
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