In the first reading from I Kings 19, we meet the Prophet Elijah having a bad day – he has been serving the Lord faithfully for some time and done all these great works – and instead of thanks and honour he is being persecuted and pursued by the deadly Queen Jezebel. Perhaps we have been on the Christian journey for some time, and perhaps like Elijah we feel we are all alone and just need a break. Perhaps we need to learn something of the lessons that the Lord gave to Elijah – to rest, eat and drink and be strengthened for the journey to the mountain of God. (7’52”)
18B – Bread of life (John 6:24-35; Exodus 16: 2-4, 12-15)
When you read the Gospel of John, you must always be aware of the broad canvas upon which John writes his Gospel. He is always mindful and aware of all that has gone on before in the past – the history of the people of God; and he is also aware of what may come in the future as he writes for us who will come after him – as we do the things that he talks about. So as John tells us the story of John 6 that we have just read, the one story that he clearly has in mind, and which everyone who was there with him in Capernaum would also have had in mind, was the story that we have just read – the story of Exodus 16, those days when the Lord gave them bread form heaven. The Lord fed and nourished his people. For when the people came to him and said – give us this sign – give us this food to eat: they are asking Jesus to reveal himself as the true Messiah. They want him to prove and demonstrate that he is the one that they have longed for; the one who will lead them on the new Exodus. That was the role of the Messiah. So Jesus is wanting to both affirm that and also wanting them to remember the true nature of the Exodus, and what was actually happening.