- 1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14
- Psalm 111
- Ephesians 5:15-20
- John 6:51-58
Jesus draws a contrast between the “bread that came down from heaven” and the bread, or manna, of the Exodus. Those who ate that bread died. God had preserved the community by providing manna; but the goal of pilgrimage was finally attained by the generation that followed. In contrast, this true Bread from heaven is life for every individual who partakes of it – a life that endures for eternity.
Jesus describes the central significance of the Eucharist – he is truly the bread of heaven, and whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood shall receive eternal life. The writer of the Gospel of John sees Jesus as the incarnation of God’s Wisdom, who came to humanity in the flesh of Jesus to reveal God’s Word by living it fully among people:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . And the Word became flesh and lived among us. John 1:1, 14a
Wisdom (Logos, or Sophia) is also to guide the life of Jesus’ followers. The Ephesians are called to “Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise . . . because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). These verses point out the dangers that surround them; yet if they understand and follow the will of the Lord, they may take advantage even of times of affliction and persecution.
God calls them to live a Spirit-filled life of moderation and sobriety. If they are to manifest God’s purposes in the world, there is no place for self-indulgent excesses that would detract from their witness. The presence of God in their lives will be seen in a communal life of praise in which they “sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (v. 19).
As baptized disciples, to know Christ is to know God’s wisdom. To know that wisdom is like being fed at a banquet table. Even before John’s Gospel was written, the community of disciples had learned to know the bread and the wine of their shared meal as elements in which the Divine life of the Son of God was conveyed to the believer.
- In John 6:53-54, Jesus proclaims that those who eat his flesh and drink his blood will have eternal life. What is your understanding of these words? What do you think it means to share eternal life with Jesus?
- The Gospel passage has many Eucharistic themes. What aspects of the Eucharist has the most meaning for you and why?
- Read the other passages for today. How does God’s wisdom come to us through Jesus?
- In the Bread of Life discourse (John 6:25-59), Jesus explains the meaning of the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. What additional perspectives to you have about that miracle after your study of these passages over the past few weeks?