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Bread of Life, Love

In today’s Gospel God invites all of us to come to Jesus: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw them, and I will raise them on the last day.”  God’s Will is to save all and so God draws all to come to Jesus.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17).  God’s Will is to save all but we also have free will and we can reject this invitation to come to Jesus.

Who is Jesus?  In John’s Gospel Jesus uses many different and basic images to describe himself: he is Living Water or the water of life; he is the Light of the World.  In today’s Gospel Jesus describes Himself as the Bread of Life: “I am the bread of life…I am the living bread that came down from heaven.”  Bread and water are necessary for life.  Quite simply if we don’t have bread and water we die.  In a similar way the Gospel is teaching us that if we do not have Jesus, we really do not have life, we die.

What is this life or eternal life?  It is not just that we live forever, some days that might seem great other days, not so much.  This life or eternal life is a qualitatively different life now in the present and also into the eternal future.  Our life is different when we “come to Jesus” because we then accept the gift of God’s love.  We are also called to love as God has loved us: “I give you a new commandment: love one another.  As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (John 13:34).  When we live our life in love, as someone beloved by God and reflecting that love to others, our life is different.  A life filled with anger, hate, and prejudice is really no life at all.  Before we can love others, we need to love ourselves and to see the goodness and holiness in our self.  God sees this already in us as He invites us to come to Jesus.  As beloved children of God let us love one another as God has already loved us.

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