Haven't we had enough of bread? Many of us would have had bread today. In the past weeks the Lectionary has been talking about bread and its bread again this week. This time the bread we've been hearing about is manifesting itself. Then Jesus declared "I am the bread of life" Those who come to me will never be hungry; those who believe in me will never be thirsty (John 6:35).
That declaration led to grumbling amongst his listeners. The other day, over the other side of the lake of Galilee, the crowd had become hungry and were pleased to have been fed by Christ. Today, they're hungry again and have tracked Jesus down in Capernaum, hoping to have another free lunch. But there's no such thing as free lunch. When Jesus told them that He's the true bread and those who come to him wouldn't be hungry again or thirst again they grumbled. Like Nicodemus in his born again encounter with Christ, the listeners of Christ had no spiritual incline of what he was talking about. They wanted bread with no conditionality attached.
Their grumbling exposed their lack of spiritual thinking. All that they crave for is physical. All they want is bread to quench their physical hunger today. They don't care about what happens tomorrow. Christ's listeners didn't understand why Jesus would link common bread which can be bought in many shops to God and more importantly to himself that he's the bread of life which came from heaven. They were literally saying we know you so stop pretending to be someone else. If you've got some bread give it to us and stop pretending you're something special.
We all love a bit of tradition. Many of us would like to continue to shop in where our grandparents and parents shopped. We wouldn't like to change our shopping habits. The same with Christ listeners; their ancestors ate manna in the wilderness and wanted to continue the status quo.
But Christ reminded them of what happened to their ancestors. After years of eating manna in the wilderness, your ancestors died. Now I am the new source of bread and if you reject me you too will die just like your ancestors. Christ is saying you could eat as many physical bread as you can but these wouldn't grant you eternal life. Only by having Christ would guarantee you eternal life.
And how do we eat Christ's flesh and drink his bread? Through prayer, regular reading and studying of scripture, and putting into practice what scripture tells us. Sadly, many people are still grumbling about this bread offer. People will "eat and drink" anything but offer them the "bread of life" and would reject it. What is it to grumble about?