For the next five weeks the Gospels will be of Jesus and food; it is the great bread of life discourse.
Last week the Gospel was of Jesus feeding the five thousand and this week the first reading was of God giving manna from heaven to the Israelites, the Gospel was of the crowd that followed Jesus because they wanted more signs!
The linking of those readings is no accident. Manna from Heaven and the Five Loaves are both examples of food divinely given at a time of great need. God was not going to allow his people to starve in the desert and Jesus was not going to let the five thousand go away hungry.
It is clear that hunger and thirst are major themes in scripture, there are rules for how to prepare food, make food, when and where to eat food. In the old testament food is used as sacrifice. Jesus is the flesh for the world, the ultimate food sacrifice. Even in our own culture food is equated with love. We put love into our cookin’
So the connection between food and divine love is strong: God loves us he feeds us.
Thinking about this the phrase; eat my flesh, drink my blood kept coming to mind. Our flesh is our largest organ, it protects us, keeps us held together. Our blood carries nutrients to all parts of body. During the time of Christ no-one knew that, no-one even thought of that, but here is Jesus saying to us to take and eat that spiritual flesh which will protect us, and that spiritual blood which will feed us deeply to our core.