“I am the bread of life.” Jesus tells us today that he is the bread of life. Jesus the Nazorean. Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, he who from all eternity was the Son of the Father, who in the fullness of time took on our flesh and became the son of Mary. Jesus is the bread of life. Not this or that, not him or her, but only Jesus Christ. The one bread of life.
The bread of life. The life-giving bread we receive every morning here at the altar. The bread, the flesh and blood that gives life and is the great promise of the Resurrection from the dead, The bread that not only saves us spiritually, but redeems us physically.
Yes, this bread is not just a spiritual reality; it is also a physical reality. It sanctifies both body and soul.
O, if only we could see the glory!
This week we have been hearing in the Acts of the Apostles about two deacons of the Church (permanent deacons, I might add), Stephen and Philip. Every deacon is called to preach the Gospel of Jesus, to preach that Jesus is the bread of life, and that no one comes to the Father except through him. Each deacon in fulfilling his vocation to teach and preach this Gospel will experience a certain martyrdom, just as we hear in Acts. Stephen was stoned to death for his proclamation and we are told today that Philip, after teaching and baptizing the eunuch, “vanished from sight.” Yes, every deacon will experience a martyrdom of sorts if he fulfills his vocation.
Indeed, all of us, by virtue of our baptisms, are called to proclaim by the manner of our lives, this central truth of our faith: Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the bread come down from heaven, the bread of life. Jesus, Son of the Father and Son of Mary. Flesh and blood, soul and divinity of the Jesus the Nazorean.