Once again we are talking about food after the feeding of thousands and the eternal bread speech from last week I thought we might have met our fill but that’s not quite so yet. We begin in one of the historical books of the Bible, 1 Kings. We hear a story about Elijah, a prophet from the Northern Kingdom. Elijah has had enough “This is enough, O Lord take my life for I am no better than my father.” it reminds me of the Suscipe of Ignatius of Loyola, Elijah is asking the Lord to take it all from him. He lies down and falls asleep under a broom tree, but an angel comes and wakes Elijah up ordering him up. At Elijah’s head was a hearth cake and a jug of water, which Elijah was told to eat and drink he took a bit and a sip and then went back to sleep. The angel came back and ordered Elijah back up and he ate and drank and it strengthened Elijah and he set off the Mount Horeb, walking for 40 days and nights. This is a reminder for us of the Manna that the Lord sent from heaven Elijah has given up, just like the Israelites in the desert and the Lord sends sustenance. Ignatius in his Suscipe says “All I have and call my own, You have given to me; to you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will.” He only asks for the Lord’s love and grace in return.
In the Psalm we sing about tasting and seeing the goodness of the Lord. Turning to the second reading we are still hearing from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, and Paul tells them “to live in love as Christ loved us” this mean being there to sacrifice ourselves for others like Christ did. For so many of us sure we love one another but are we willing to do anything for others or do we love as in the more general sense which the word means currently something akin to a strong like.
Finally we reach John’s Gospel where we continue by skipping like five verses from the end of last week’s reading. This is a funny worded section as it starts with the Jews murmuring, but that’s just the crowd that heard Jesus say “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” If I were in the crowd I would be questioning what he means by this. Jesus calms them down and quotes the prophets “They will all be taught by the Lord.” Then Jesus goes to the extreme and says that whoever eats of the living bread will live forever and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” Then you’ve got to wait till next week for the continuation of the story. Giving ones flesh is the ultimate sacrifice and as it is everything that we have. Just as Elijah is strengthened by the hearth cake so to should we be with the Eucharist as it is the bread from heaven and should feed our spiritual needs as it is the bread from heaven which has been given to us for eternal life, through the love of Christ and the Father.