John 6:50-51 “But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (New International Version)
Eating a piece of bread is a joyful experience for many of us, whether toast at breakfast, a bread roll with soup, or an artisan loaf made with care.
In the reading bread from heaven is a reminder of Moses during the wilderness years whose people ate and were soon hungry again. C. K. Barrett sums up the reading: “The person of Jesus received by faith is the means by which eternal life is given and sustained.”
Advent is a time to look forward to marking the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas, and in a carol we may sing, “He came down to earth from heaven.” Jesus’ bread from heaven is shared at communion, but also as we carry the life of Jesus into the world.
At Midnight Mass in Bethlehem, the bread is distributed to the crowds, and a baby Christ figure (the bambino) is carried from the cave of Jesus’ birth into the waiting crowd. Through Jesus, the people he inspires to follow him help to bring life into the world. Find life in him and Christmas no longer comes but once a year, it is there for us always: the living bread from heaven renews the life of the world.
Author: Rev P Dean