In today’s first reading from Acts 7, we read about the martyrdom of St. Stephen. He met a brutal end. Can you imagine being stoned to death? How painful that must have been. And yet, he echoes the sentiment of Jesus as He hung on the cross, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Even at the moment of an excruciating death, Stephen was able to forgive. How can we not do the same, especially for much smaller offenses?
In the Gospel reading today from John 6, we hear the first time that Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” This is why this part of John’s Gospel is called The Bread of Life Discourse. The crowd says to Jesus, “What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert…” And Jesus replies, “My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.” These words must have seemed quite mysterious, odd, even crazy to the people. And, unfortunately, they still seem that way to many today.
Jesus once said, “Man does not live by bread alone…” Now Jesus begins to teach that man can NOT live without this new bread. And so the people say to Jesus, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Little did they know that this is exactly what Jesus had in mind.
Father, we thank you for giving us the Bread of Life. Strengthen our resolve to always come to Jesus, that we many never hunger. Amen.