By Fr. Alex Radulescu - After God created the world, He put humans in charge of it: “God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” (1: 28)
After God created the world, He put humans in charge of it: “God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” (1: 28)
God also assured them of His providence: “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.” (Gen. 1:29) This is the first mention of food in the Bible.
We may wonder why is God so nice to us and why does He give us so much power and provides for our needs? The reason is because He loves us. He does not want us to be bogged down with the cares of life and always wonder about what shall we eat or what shall we wear. He takes care of that as we in turn should show trust and gratitude for His loving care.
When Moses was leading the Israelites through the desert, God provided them with manna to eat during their journey. This manna was like a fine frosting they had to collect before it was melted by the heat of the sun. It would also spoil if kept over-night (except for sabbath). This was miraculous food given by God to His people. It had a dual purpose: to sustain them and encourage their trust in God (because they could not store it, they had to depend on God to provide it every day).
Our problem is trusting that God will provide for us. We want to have control over the supply. And when we do that, we forget about the supplier (God). This is true in both material and spiritual matters. This is why so many doubted that Christ is the one Who will save us. How can a poor carpenter from Nazareth bring liberation to Israel and the entire world? If God loves us, He will send a savior according to our standards: rich, powerful, connected, member of the elites, an army leader who can deliver us from our enemies and provide comfort in this world.
Instead, we got this modest Jesus who came to serve, not to be served, asking us to love everyone including our enemies. What? Are you kidding me? Where is the guarantee of His success? Where is the power, the glory?
What was even more puzzling was what Jesus said about His body: “Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6:47-51)
What Jesus proclaims here is that God wants us to live with Him forever. And to live forever with God means to eat the food of eternal life. And the food for eternal life is not material bread but heavenly bread. And Who can provide this heavenly bread but God alone? And this “Bread of Life” is Christ in the Holy Communion: “the bread that I will give … is my flesh.” (v.45) That is why Christ calls Himself the Bread of Life: because all those who are willing to follow His example, by consuming this Bread, will partake in His life of holiness.
Brothers and sisters, God provides everything we need in order to be saved. He even gave us His only Son, Jesus Christ, to save us. He became the Food for Eternal Life. I look forward to the time when we will again get together to celebrate the Mystery of Holy Communion and receive the Body and Blood of Christ, the Bread of Life. May God have mercy on us and allow this to happen soon. Amen.