Wednesday of the third week of Easter

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Jesus said to the crowds, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. But I told you that although you have seen me, you do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.”

There it is, the bread of life discourse that describes the reason for the multiplication of the loaves and the feeding of the crowds. Certainly a Eucharist experience can be seen in these events, and it is not hard to see Jesus using these events to teach his apostles about himself and his mission. With a little imagination, one can even begin to see the comparison between these events and God delivering the manna to the Israelites while journeying through the desert. On that journey those travelers gain the opportunity to reignite their faith in their God, and here Jesus proclaims His mission. That mission is to do the work of the one who sent Him. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus chooses bread as an identifying component of His mission? That bread  becomes  his body in the Eucharist, bread is a staple of life and a key source of nutrition. It is  made through the gathering of many  individual grains, as Jesus gathers many to form His mystical body It is what the  Israelites use as food when they flee Egypt.The word Companions means travelers with bread.

The interesting thing though is that all I write about is bread. I make the same mistake those eaters of manna made in the desert. The story of the multiplication of loaves does not begin with the feeding of the crowd, but with Jesus looking up to heaven and saying the prayer. That prayer is important.

It is in the story of the last supper that Jesus says take this all of you and eat it , this is my body. These words spoken at the last supper, become the Eucharist we know today. The last supper though was not the only super, there were many before it. Bread, surprisingly, has a long history in Jewish life. The prayers over bread start every Jewish meal, it is part of the Sabbath and part of the Passover. The bread is the unleavened matzo of the Passover and the Challah of the Shabbat.”Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe who brings forth bread from the earth.” The HaMotzi prayer is   said over bread, and bread and wine start any proper Jewish meal. Jesus then offers this blessing over His family, soon to be known as Christians. Not Jew , or Gentile, nor Greek or Roman; but Christian. The body of Christ.

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