True Nourishment

– Memorial of St Athanasius –

 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” [John 6:27]

The gospel today takes place after the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:1-14) where Jesus fed the hungry crowd with the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves.  The crowd didn’t understand that the miracle of the bread reveals God’s love for us.

Today, Jesus challenges the crowd – and us – to look to what will truly nourish us. If we are to be truly filled, we have to recognise and honour those hungers, hopes, and needs that are deep within us. We recognise each of us yearns to be known and loved, and to find what will satisfy our heart’s deepest longing. This is why Jesus addresses the crowds saying, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”

Jesus asks us to look beyond the things the world offers. The things we instinctively rely on will eventually ‘spoil’, so we are to look to where our true and deeper hunger can be filled – “the bread of Life” (v 35) which alone can satisfy us.  We receive “the bread of life” in prayer, in our contemplation of Scripture, and through the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the greatest gift, sustaining us and giving us meaning and strength as we respond to the mission God has for us. Every Eucharist is a personal encounter with Christ. Listening to God’s word, our hearts burn because it is he who is explaining and proclaiming it. When we break the bread at the Eucharist, it is he whom we receive personally.” [Pope Benedict XVI to the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, 2007]

The Eucharist is where we enter into a communion with Jesus himself. It is here that the deepest desires and longings of our hearts are fulfilled


by Lisa McKerr

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