May 2017

"I AM the bread of life"

(John 6.35)

Whatever else the media does or does not do, it puts before us the appalling effects of malnutrition. The plight of victims of famine, of refugees and asylum seekers pictured on our screens is a graphical illustration of what malnutrition really means in the lives of men and women and above all in the lives (so often cruelly brief) of children.

What we do not see so clearly in our minds are the appalling effects of malnutrition in the things of the Spirit. As far as the more affluent part of the world is concerned, the words of God spoken through the prophet Amos ring true today: Behold, the days are coming when I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord" (Amos 8.11). Malnutrition of the Bread of Life leads directly to violence, robbery, the breakdown of marriages and morals, to bitterness, and to the wrong handling of resources, whether natural or any other.

There is no "once for all" eating of bread. It is a daily need, and a daily intake. So the daily intake of spiritual bread is essential for right living, right reactions and right contributions to life around us. So the daily contemplation of the Word of God, speaking to us personally, or through the prophets or supremely through Jesus the Christ, is the vital daily intake.

Remember what Jesus says: The Words that I speak to you, they are spirit, they are life. They do carry into us the very life of God, I AM. They do have the power to make each one of us "a new creation". We are taught to say Give us this day our daily bread, just what is needed to carry us through today. But it remains an act of our will to seek that bread which will nourish the spirit within us which is eternal. Thus nourished, we become more fit to intercede for those less nourished than ourselves, whether bodily or spiritually.