Praying about this gospel, all of a sudden, I felt empathy for the Jews who listened to Jesus.  These past Sundays, we have been watching their reaction to the miracle of the multiplication of the bread, and to Jesus’ explanation on the bread that comes down from heaven, the bread that points to his very own self.
The people misunderstood. The people did not get the point. The people complained and murmured. There is somehting in Jesus’ words that made the people revolt deep within. What is that?
Jesus’ teaching about the Bread of Life was not easy to accept. There’s  a lot of violence behind his words. We hear the Lord say, “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall have no life in you. He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Think about those words. Return to those words and analyze them slowly. “Eating the flesh… drinking the blood…” O my! Someone has to die! You cannot accept these words and not think of death.  And the poor Jews did not want to be part of this spectacle. They could not accept they will celebrate, have life, and feast all because someone died for them!  I would feel the same; I would rather celebrate without the knowledge that my joy is in exchange of another’s suffering.
However Jesus is clearly telling us that true love comes at a cost. And perfect love gives perfectly, even everything, even if painful, even death itself. So many soldiers die in battle in the Middle East so that ISIS captives may re-unite with their loved ones. Our Overseas Filipino Workers must suffer nostalgia and loneliness so that their families can have food, medicine, education and their own house. I remember a friend of mine, who had to die at childbirth so that her baby can have a chance to live!
Jesus is pointing to us something extreme. If you truly love, you are willing to go through death, the death of many sacrifices. Do you ever think of this when you go to Communion? Maybe if we just consider seriously what this Bread is for us, then Communion will not be like taking a cookie from the hands of the priest. It is receiving the greatest love of all from Someone who loves us unto death!
And if we realize this, after the Mass, can we not also gain so much strength and courage and willingness to die to ourselves so that others may live? Can we control our tongue so that others may have a bright day?  Can we give up our comfort so that others may enjoy life? Can we be generous with a smile so that the office may have warmth? Can we live simply so that others may simply live?
Jesus, Bread of Life, I thank you for your love. In your love for me, you gave up everything so that I may enjoy everything. Receiving you today, touch my heart so that I will be bread of life for others too in my own little way. Amen.