Christian world commemorates the incident of Jesus sharing his own body with humanity to show his maximum level of love. There are so many memorable and incredible references throughout the Holy Bible assuring this love through the metaphor of bread. Jesus assured humanity saying, “I am the bread of life.”
Jesus identifies himself as “bread of life”
Eucharist is the central point of Christian life according to the Roman Catholics. Jesus speaks about it clearly throughout his ministry. His words speak about so many hungers and human attempts to satisfy those hungers. Man is hungry to be fed. He is hungry to be loved. He is hungry to belong to someone in some way. He is hungry for recognition. He craves for so many things. He never rests until he is satisfied of his hunger.
Until man finds real nourishment, he gets by on a diet of “junk food” and empty calories of distractions and diversions. He can never be nourished with them. His health will further be spoiled with them leading him to sicknesses.
Food has been a basic food for survival in all civilizations of mankind throughout human history. It does not appear magically out of the ground in itself, but has to be made – a process discovered and known for thousands of years. It has been used as leavened or unleavened, made of many different grains. It is the nutritious food that provides energy. In western culture bread is used even as another word for money or something that is necessary for survival.
This metaphor of bread in the Bible may seem to be a combination of mystical nutritional, horticultural and religious images and may create something stirring. But they expose the deep love and concern of God towards humanity.
Jesus repeatedly offering himself as bread of life
Jesus knew quite well the nature of man’s hunger and how it can be satiated. That is why he came forward to offer himself as food. When the people around him were searching for him to find out a short cut to find food without toil, he told them about imperishable bread. He said, “’Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.’ Then they said to him, ‘What must we do, to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ So they said to him, ‘Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ Jesus then said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.’ They said to him, ‘Lord, give us this bread always.’” (John 6: 27-34)
A bread to solve ever increasing hunger
Jesus came forward to solve the ever increasing problem of hungry humanity. He said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35) He repeats his words of assurance that he came into this world to offer himself as nourishment for eternal human life. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6: 47-51) Some people around him who heard these words of giving himself as food could not believe his words and began to murmur. Some left the place immediately.
A solution for modern hunger
Jesus wants to be present among men in his human form. There can be no other better solution that he could have chosen to live with people of all generations. Modern life is more after “junk foods”. Man has to find out real food that can nourish him.