Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.’
I especially appreciate Jesus’ words in our reading for tonight as they come after reflecting on Jesus’ raising of Lazarus on Sunday. Recall the words that Jesus spoke to Lazarus from outside the tomb, “Lazarus, come out!” Jesus wasn’t calling any old person. No, Jesus was calling his friend Lazarus to come up out of the grave and live again. Jesus calls him, and us, from whatever grave we might find ourselves in this life. Remember how I told you that there are many “deaths” in life besides a physical death. There can be spiritual and emotional deaths that can remove us from the joys of life. The loss of a job, the death of a loved one, and the dissolution of a marriage can all lead to forms of death. Addiction and depression can separate us from the contentment and happiness of daily living. Yes, there are many ways to die in this world in a lifetime. And at the root of all these deaths is an insatiable hunger; a hunger for financial security, a hunger for never-ending relationships, a hunger for bodily control and bliss. God gives each of us a hunger, for good or for bad, and it’s up to us how we deal with that hunger. Do we feed that hunger or do we allow that hunger to consume us? Do we satisfy that hunger with drugs or sorrow or self-involvement? Or do we satisfy our hunger with the one thing, the one person, who can fully satisfy us? Everything else is temporary and will satisfy the hunger for only a short period of time. But with Jesus our hunger disappears forever. In Jesus, we are never hungry. He so fully satisfies our needs that we no longer hunger for anything. And Jesus offers that satisfaction to us as he calls each of us out of our various deaths; out of our foolish attempts to satisfy the hunger within. Jesus knows we’re hungry and gives us the bread we need to satisfy our hunger. He gives us the bread of joy, the bread of satisfaction, the bread of eternal life! Thanks be to God!
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.