The Bread that Comes Down from Heaven



Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

The Bread that Comes Down from Heaven

Elijah was on his way to the mountain of God, Horeb. He had to go through the desert. It was a long journey. At one point he was tired and discouraged. He prayed to the Lord saying "This is enough, O Lord! Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers" (1 Kings 19:4b). In the midst of his struggle, an angel of the Lord appeared to Elijah providing food and water for him so he could gain his strength. Elijah fell asleep under a tree. The angel insisted to Elijah: "Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!" (1 Kings 19:7). This is one of several accounts in the scriptures in which God himself provided food to his people. Elijah was able to recognize the divine origin of the food given to him. Elijah obeyed the angel, gained his strength, and continued on his journey.

In a similar way in the Gospel Jesus identifies himself as the true bread that has come down from heaven. Nevertheless, some of the people were not able to recognize the divine origin of this bread and they were murmuring. In response, Jesus ordered them to stop murmuring among themselves. He insisted to them to believe in Him! Jesus is the true bread that leads us to the Father.

The journey of life can be long and overwhelming. Sometimes, our prayer is that of Elijah and we cry out to the Lord “Enough is enough!” The Lord will hear our prayer and provide for us bread from heaven, a divine food that will help us to gain our strength and to continue our journey. In times when our prayer is “Enough is enough!” it is important to also stop for a moment to listen to the Lord and allow him to feed us with heavenly bread. In other words, in prayer, we need to ask ourselves what is the divine help we are receiving from the Lord himself.

This divine help comes to us usually through the efforts of the community of faith. It is the mission of the Church to continue providing the bread that comes down from heaven through the works of mercy and the sacraments. We have two options: to continue murmuring against the one who provides or to recognize what he is giving us and be grateful because we can taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

—Fr. Jorge Rátiva, O.P.