18B18. Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15. “The whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron” that things were better in Egypt where they had plenty to eat than in the desert where they had been led with so little to eat. God hears their grumbling. So he gives the meat of the quail and the residue from the evaporated dew that was the manna to be eaten like bread from the hand of the Lord.
John 6:24-35. This Gospel follows last Sundays’ Gospel where Jesus had fed the five thousand and they sought him out to make him king so that they could get more of that miraculous meal. Jesus says to them, “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” Jesus, answering their question as to what works do they need to do says, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.” Still seeking again that miraculous meal they ask Jesus to perform a sign or miracle that they may believe in Jesus just as Moses had given the manna. Jesus replies that it was not Moses but God that gave the manna and that God will again give them the true bread from heaven that gives life to the world. “So they said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Jesus is telling them that he has given them the bread of this world that gives life for one day as a sign that he, as the one sent by God the Father, is the One who can give them himself who is the bread that gives eternal life. As bread or any food gives us the energy to do our daily work, Jesus, dwelling within us, gives us the strength to live a holy life in a world that tempts us to be a sinful people.
Ephesians 4:17, 20-24. Paul writes, “I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their mind.” Living life without Jesus who is the bread of life is an exercise in futility because it is a choice that leaves one without the light that directs our steps in the way to eternal happiness and without the spiritual energy to make our way through this world’s jungle of temptations. Paul continues, The “truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires,” “and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.” Only with Christ, as the nourishment of our spiritual inner self, the life giving force of our souls can we put away the old self and put on the new. The new self must always be a creation of God to which we assent and actively cooperate.