“I’m hungry Mama,” complains Rolly, the little Dalmatian puppy in the classic 101 Dalmatians film. How often, as a mother of 6, do I hear these words every day. Someone is always hungry. Even as I write this, I’ve fed one child and fully expect to be asked if it’s snack time within the next fifteen minutes by at least two others. Just at lunch today, my 6 year old proudly pronounced, “I’m always hungry, unless I’ve just eaten.”
In the Gospel today, Jesus tells His listeners that He can provide such food so as to make the eater never hungry again. For those who live with relative food security, this may sound like a nice promise but perhaps won’t be moved by its shocking assertion. For anyone who knows, or is currently living in a situation where food is scarce, this statement would stop them in their tracks, as it did the listeners of Jesus. These were people for whom food was not a guarantee. Depending on one’s job there were relative levels of security, a Pharisee for example, would not be as concerned about his meals as a fisherman.
Recall who Jesus typically taught. These were the poor, the socially low, the forgotten and the everyday ordinary. How their ears would have perked up, their attention focused, to hear Jesus’ claim that if they come to Him He will make it so they are never hungry again.
Today we know that Jesus is speaking of a deeper hunger than physical. We all hunger to be loved, to be accepted, to be safe. We act and make decisions based on these hungers. Often we try to satisfy them with things of the world, but we always find ourselves hungry again. In speaking this way, Jesus is drawing upon the common experience of hunger and asking His new followers to look deeper within themselves.
We all share a common physical hunger for food, Jesus does not diminish this need. But He has come to satisfy our common hunger for God’s presence in our lives. Every human, from before Jesus’ time to this present moment, has a hunger for God’s presence. Unfortunately, this hunger gets twisted inside of us due to sin. And it is fitting that Jesus offers living bread as the remedy. By eating the fruit in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve brought Original Sin to themselves and their children. Now, today and everyday, Jesus offers bread which will transform us and satisfy us.
Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.
Feature Image Credit: joshuasy, https://pixabay.com/photos/pita-bread-pita-food-lebanese-4445794/