Pass me the bread, please…that is a phrase that I have used dozens of times! Little did I know that I would end up working at Stanley’s Bakery (an East Islip favorite since 1948) where we make and sell all kinds of bread–Rye bread (small and large, seeded and unseeded); French bread (seeded and unseeded, round, and rustic); Pumpernickel bread (round and regular, large and small, with raisins or without); and this week (in honor of St. Patrick’s Day), we are selling truck loads of Irish soda bread (mostly, iced and sliced). We also have all kinds of rolls, too, including egg rolls (no, not the Chinese kind), hard rolls, football rolls, soft rolls, wheat rolls, and our new Rye-cheddar popovers (which I can highly recommend). We have shelves and shelves of bread made fresh every day. “Pass me the bread, please” has taken on a whole new meaning!
In John 6, Jesus fed over 5000 people with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish. Once everyone had their fill, there were 12 baskets of leftovers. Jesus “passed the bread” that day to satisfy the physical hunger of that huge crowd. But then, the next day, when the crowd came looking for more bread, Jesus didn’t feed them again. Instead, he made an incredible statement about himself. “I AM the Bread of Life.” (John 6: 35) Jesus made the claim that he is the one who can satisfy our spiritual hunger. And it is true! Only life with Jesus brings true satisfaction and fulfillment. Then, just a couple of years later, Jesus goes to a cross and becomes the bread, his body broken for each one of us.
Yes, I like bread, and it is hard to resist the rolls as they come out of the oven early in the morning at the bakery. I must also admit, I have been known to eat one. But here is the problem, after a few hours, I am hungry for more. Even as good as Stanley’s bread is, it doesn’t satisfy my hunger for long. Jesus offers us himself and by partaking of him, we no longer hunger. He completely satisfies! Pope John Paul II put it like this:
Farmers everywhere provide bread for all humanity, but it is Christ alone who is the bread of life…Even if all the physical hunger of the world were satisfied, even if everyone who is hungry were fed by his or her own labor or by the generosity of others, the deepest hunger of man would still exist…Therefore, I say, Come, all of you, to Christ. He is the bread of life. Come to Christ and you will never be hungry again…
Pass me some of that bread, please!