This Sunday we continue our reading of the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, which is known as the Bread of Life Discourse. The crowd, which was fed by the multiplication of loaves in last week’s Gospel, is following Jesus, asking Him to do that miracle over and over so they never have to worry about food again. He tells them that they are seeking the wrong kind of bread, which perishes. Instead they should seek the bread that only God can give them, that will never perish. “Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus’ response is very important. He says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me will never hunger, whoever believes in Me will never thirst.” He is not yet speaking of the Eucharist, but of His own person. It is only in a relationship and a connection with Jesus Himself that we find the fullness of life that we seek. This matters because when we do talk about the Eucharist, we must understand that it is a person and not a thing.
John’s Gospel is full of what are known as “I AM” statements. These include, “I AM the light of the world. I AM the Resurrection and the Life. I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life. I AM the Good Shepherd. I AM the True Vine. I AM the Door for the sheep.” I AM is the sacred name of God revealed to Moses from the burning bush. In Hebrew it is YHWH (Yahweh), a name so sacred and holy that it was never to be spoken aloud except once per year by the High Priest. When Jesus makes these “I AM” statements, He is clearly identifying Himself with YHWH.
Jesus is the Risen, Living, Lord Jesus Christ. He is present and living among us. His final words in the Gospel of Matthew are, “I am with you always until the end of the age.” Christ is not merely an historical figure. He is much more. He is as alive and present as He ever has been. It is the living Jesus Christ, who is, that concerns us.
When we receive the Body and Blood of Christ at Mass, it is not the dead body and blood, but the risen Christ that we receive. In the Eucharist, He is present as both human and divine—Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
—Fr. Mike Comer