Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter

In today’s Gospel passage, the crowd asks Jesus:

“What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

Most of the rest of this Chapter 6 of John’s Gospel is Jesus using that last sentence as the basis for his response.  The crowd is referencing both the original event in Exodus and Psalm 78’s mention of it. 

This manna was called bread from heaven because it fell from the sky.  As is so often the case with Old Testament passages, it also prefigured the true bread from heaven that is Jesus Christ.  He is what comes from heaven to give life to the world.

The people were locked into their old paradigm of the Jewish faith.  Not just their understanding of manna, but their understanding of Moses, the Law, and the Torah as what gives life to Israel.  Jesus once again is challenging the people to look to him as the fulfillment of all that.  He is the true bread from heaven that gives life, not just to Israel, but to the whole world. 

For so many, Jesus was not able to free them from that old paradigm.  The long-awaited Messiah stood in front of them.  But, because he did not conform to their pre-existing notions, they could not accept him.  Instead of seeing how he was greater than what they expected, they challenged him to fit within their expectations.   

Do we challenge Jesus to fit within our expectations?  Do we demand certain outcomes as a prerequisite to accepting him as our Savior?  Are we willing to follow the way that he shows us?  Or do we insist that he help us to go on the way that we want?

The Father’s plan for us is the best for us.  Jesus helps to show us that plan.  The Spirit guides us to follow that plan.  We need to trust in the Father’s plan rather than try to steer things onto a path of our own making.  Through our prayer and the sacraments, we can become more docile to the will of God and more receptive to the guidance that we need to follow that will.