Archive for June 3rd, 2020


Wednesday, June 3, 2013

John 6

The Bread of Life for the New Exodus

If there is one chapter in the New Testament which explains Eucharist to us, this is one of the best.  Jesus is the Bread of Life, superseding the manna given in the desert, fulfilling the promise of that eternal sustenance.

Last night in scripture class the lecture focused on Chapters 11 and 12 of Acts in which we read of Peter’s imprisonment by Herod Agrippa for preaching that Jesus lives although he has died.  Herod has just executed the first of the apostles, James, brother of John (often called James the Greater) so Peter’s future looks bleak.   These early Christians understand that Peter is incarcerated and guarded by four groups of four guards – the ancient equivalent of maximum security.  Knowing that Peter will most certainly be executed after Passover and also knowing that they have no political or civil power to help him, the small Christ community comes together to unite in prayerful solidarity with Peter.  They know that they must put his fate – and the fate of their new, little church – in the only place it belongs . . . in the hands of God.  It is delightful to read the description of how Peter is released, where he goes afterward and how the events unravel through the mystery of prayer and of God.  And most importantly, Peter’s Exodus story reminds us that we also may depend on Christ to free us from injustice and darkness.  It reminds us of the importance of Eucharist, the Bread of Life, our sustaining meal for our own Exodus.

When we have the opportunity, we can spend some time with Acts 11 and 12.  Parallels are made by scholars between the Exodus of the Israelites, the Exodus of Jesus, the Exodus of Peter and the Church, and our own Exodus; we might fill several pages with notes of the details of these parallels.  What is important here is to understand that each of us is called to make our own Exodus from the slavery of any darkness which clings to us, from the imprisonment of narrow thinking which oppresses our creativity, and from the addiction of fearing the light which brings us into so much that is good.   And we will need sustenance along the Way.  We will need Eucharist.

Thousands of Israelites lined up in their tribes to march from Egypt through the desert where they were nourished by manna as they moved toward the Promise they understood awaited them in a distant, foreign place.  We are likewise asked to step into The Way, to sustain ourselves on the Bread of Life in order to enact our own Exodus to our own Promise in a strange and unknown place.  Let us rely on Christ, the Bread of Life, to see us through our journey.

Tomorrow, a prayer for our own Exodus . . .

Image from: http://www.closerdaybyday.info/2011/10/john-6/

To read and reflect more on Peter, type his name in the search bar of this blog and explore.

Adapted from a reflection written on January 25, 2008.

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