In yesterday’s gospel reading, we heard that Jesus is “the bread of life…given for the life of the world.” (John 6:51-58). Those of us who have come to know Jesus as Lord, who have tasted and seen that He is good, know this to be true. We know that He alone can satisfy the deep spiritual hunger inside of us. We know that He alone can give us life.
We know this to be true, and yet often we don’t recognize our ongoing hunger for God—in ourselves or in others. In a world with so many other kinds of “food” at our disposal, it is easy to stuff ourselves full: full of recreation, entertainment, or busyness, such that we numb ourselves to the reality that the fullness we actually seek can’t be found in a full schedule or a full stomach. The fullness we seek can only be found in communion with Jesus. He is the bread of life, and unless we feast on Him—unless we daily, ongoingly, turn to Him to give us life—we will find ourselves wanting. The Christian life is not one of stagnant assent to theological maxims; rather, it is one of ongoing conversion. Of receiving the perpetual gift of Jesus into ourselves and allowing Him to transform us.
And as we do this, as we feed on Life Himself, we become as He is. We are transformed into His image and then begin to take up His mission. This practice of perpetual “feasting” on Jesus gives us a fresh and abiding love for the world for which Jesus gave His very life. We become more in tune with the hunger of those around us and long for them to be filled as well. For we have been given the most precious gift of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ for our utter and total healing, body and soul. And then as those who are being healed, we take that healing and that hope with us to others. As those who have been filled, we bring bread to those who are hungry. As those who have been shown mercy, we extend mercy to others. Into every corner of creation. Into every facet of society we are called to be broken bread for the life of the world.
This is not something we do in our own power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit! We receive the life of Jesus into our very selves and then we are sent out with His blood flowing through our veins; with His life nourishing and sustaining us in the work He’s given us to do. We feast on Christ and that food becomes our fuel for mission. We receive eucharist and then by the power of the Spirit, we become eucharist. We become the presence of Jesus in the world around us.
This is how Mother Teresa put it:
“The world today is hungry. Not only for bread, but hungry for love;
Hungry to be wanted, to be loved. They’re hungry to feel that presence of Christ.
In many countries, people have everything except that presence.
That’s why the life of prayer and sacrifice comes to give that love…
You are to be that presence, that bread of God to break.”
To say it another way: you are what you eat. The invitation of the gospel is to feed on Christ and to let him be formed in you, for the life of the world.