“Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.” (John 6:27)
This week’s Gospel connects the multiplication of loaves miracle from last week to the manna in the desert in the time of Moses. Jesus recognized that the people had not properly interpreted his miracle and were in danger of seeing Him as merely an earthly king and provider of bread. He begins now to explain Himself in relation to the Father. Jesus wants us to understand the Eucharist as a gift from God, like the manna.
They were not recognizing the miraculous bread as a sign from God. “Sign” is John’s word for miracle. The people ask: “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?” Would Jesus give them manna again, like Moses? Can Jesus provide bread from heaven? To this Jesus responds: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Jesus wants us to recognize Him present in the Eucharist. He wants us to treat the Eucharist differently from regular bread. He has given us this Bread always, as we requested, but do we recognize the Eucharist for the sign that it is?
May God help us recognize Him in the Eucharist, and may we always show Him due reverence in word and in deed.