Jesus said to the Jewish crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
by Father Greg Friedman, OFM
As a friar I’ve had the privilege to go on pilgrimage. Traveling to a holy place with other pilgrims is an experience of getting to know God, self, and others. An important part of pilgrimage—believe it or not—is the food. You may smile, wondering what pilgrimage meals have to do with spirituality. Well, I enjoyed some of my best spiritual experiences around the table with my fellow pilgrims. The meals on pilgrimage in Assisi, Italy, were, of course, wonderful! But my memory of those meals always includes the wonderful people with whom I shared the food. It nourished both body and spirit.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, and our first reading takes us into the desert, as God’s people are completing their pilgrimage to the Promised Land. Moses recalls for them how they depended for 40 years on the food God provided. They survived as free people liberated from slavery, thanks to the manna in the desert and the other food from God.
In the Gospel, Jesus tells the crowds that he himself will be true food and drink for them—a food that will surpass the manna in the desert. Jesus, the living bread, will give them eternal life. It is the ultimate pilgrimage meal, and we share it each Sunday at Eucharist.
by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
• In the first reading (Dt 8:2-3, 14b-16a), Moses reminds the people how God loved them and cared for them for 40 years. What did Moses bring to the attention of the people?
What is Moses’ directive to the people after he summarizes their 40 years in the desert?
• According to the second reading (1Cor 10:16-17), what does Paul tell the people in Corinth (and us, as well) about the cup of blessing?
What about the bread that we share at Mass?
Can you sing the hymn “One Bread, One Body,” and so forth?
• In this week’s Gospel (Jn 6:51-58), Jesus says he is the “living bread that came down from heaven.” What will happen to those who eat this bread? What does Jesus promise?
How did the Jewish crowds respond to him?
What comparison does Jesus make between the Jewish people in the desert who ate the manna and the people of our time who eat the bread that came down from heaven?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
• The readings this week make numerous references to bread and how it sustains us. Make some bread for your family to enjoy at dinner. Make some extra loaves and share them with friends or family.
• Just because we can’t all gather together in person because of the COVID situation, it doesn’t mean we can’t gather together for a meal. Have each family cook the same meal and then enjoy a virtual dinner party. There are plenty of apps available to help you make it happen!