Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter
(Acts 8:1b-8; John 6:35-40)
In today’s gospel Jesus claims to be the bread of life who nourishes those who come to him so that they never hunger. Yet many fret over their needs although they regularly take Communion. Why the discrepancy? To answer the question compare Jesus’ offer with a more commonly thought of bread that is often undervalued.
In White Bread, a book published last year, Professor Aaron Bobrow-Strain describes the trajectory of the famous American food. In the days when bread provided most of the common person’s calories, people needed to be assured that it was not contaminated by soot, sawdust, and other adulterations. Manufacturing bread using bleached flour provided a product that could be eye-tested for purity. Automatic slicing enhanced white bread’s utility, and enriching it with vitamins made it the veritable “staff of life.” As food tastes evolved, however, sophisticates have decried white bread as yokel fare with dietetic and creative limitations. Boborw-Strain contends to the contrary that it is the food of a democratic society where people, assured of the value of what they eat, can dream of improving their lives through education and work.
Jesus similarly offers himself as the basis of a new kind of life. Following him we grow in care for one another that lifts us from the competition of natural life and places us in the environment of Trinitarian love. The struggle that we often have in the process indicates how deeply immersed we are in the world of domination. Yet the more we acquire Jesus’ ways, the more our hunger for power will vanish.