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Lorida, Florida
Tir De , Gaelic for "God's Country"

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Spiritual Reflections
by Fr. Sean C. Mulcahy,

“Jesus — The Bread of Daily Life”

   You may recall that story that came out of World War II.  The Germans forced many twelve and thirteen-year old boys into the Junior Gestapo.  They were treated very badly. When the war ended most of these young people had lost track of their families, and wandered without food or shelter. They were placed in tent cities, where doctors and psychologists worked with them in a series attempt to restore their mental and physical health. They found that many of the boys would awaken in the middle of the night, screaming in terror.  One doctor suggested that the boy’s fears might be related to a lack of security, and so after feeding the boys a large full meal, they put the boys to bed with a piece of bread in their hands, and were told to save it until morning. This brought an assurance to the boys, they had food for tomorrow.

Now it is hard for us to relate to that today because bread is optional, especially the variety of breads; and these days we are strongly advised to cut back on the bread for health reasons. But in Palestine, bread was not looked upon as an add-on to a meal. Bread was the essential staple-you might have nothing else but if you had bread, you could survive.  Keep in mind most people were incredibly poor.

We read in our gospel from John 6: “When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. Jesus said: “Amen I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”  As I was working on this the painful reality struck me, and that is the incredible efforts, unbelievable things we humans can and do accomplish, for things –‘food’ that cannot ultimately satisfy us –at best, only temporarily. It’s amazing when one reflects on it. We have to admit that’s part of ‘original sin’, supported by St. Paul assertion: “The things I don’t want to do I do, and the things I want to do I don’t do.”

Jesus reminds the people : “It was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven; my Father gives you true bread from heaven. So they said to him ‘Sir, give us this bread always, and Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me will never hunger and whoever believes in me will never thirst”. Jesus, of course is referring to his teaching and his way of life. So Paul in our second reading says: “ . .you should put away the old self of your former way of life, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self created in God’s way.”

In our first reading from Exodus, we find the people grumbling against Moses who in turn spoke to God who promises food for those on this desert journey.  They got manna in the morning and quail in the evening. Manna is the natural secretion of two species of insects providing the manna. Even the Bedouins today who inhabit the central Sinai gather and eat this. So what Jesus is trying to get across to his listeners who were there for regular bread, is that He is the New Moses who not only provides manna, but is himself the manna.



















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