A teacher in school asked a ten-year old boy to name three basic food essentials. And he answered, “Breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
Most of us would probably agree with that answer. We appear to be a well-fed group. And I would dare say the majority of us eat three good meals a day.
Have you ever considered how much of our time is devoted to feeding our bodies? If we take into account the entire process, it is quite an investment of time. First, we must earn the money with which to buy food. Then we must purchase the food, prepare it, and eat it, and clean up afterward.
I would not know how to compute the time that involves. It would vary from person to person and from day to day. But I suspect all of us would be amazed at what percentage of our time is devoted to feeding ourselves.
This is well and good. I did not bring up the subject to criticize it. But in the midst of it all, there are two things that we ought to keep in mind. One is that there are many people in the world who do not eat nearly as well as we do. And the other is that our souls need feeding, just as surely as our bodies do.
That second thought is the theme of this reflection. St. John’s Gospel quoted Jesus as saying, “I am the living bread come down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread he shall live forever.”
Jesus knew the necessity for physical food as well as anyone else. He devoted much of His ministry to feeding hungry people, and taught His disciples to do the same. But He was equally as concerned for hungry hearts as He was for hungry bodies.
Our human heart literally gets hungry for God. You and I are not machines. We were not put together by General Motors. We are men and women created in the image of God. And there is an inherent link, an indissoluble relationship between the creature and the Creator. Our hearts are longing for communion with God. Because of this, there is a longing in each of us which nothing in the world can satisfy.
The psalmist understood this hunger in his own heart, when he wrote: “As the deer longs for the running water, so my soul longs for you, O God.” Is there someone with a restlessness deep inside. Recognize it for what it is. It is just as normal as your body’s need for food. You cannot live on bread alone. None of us can. We need spiritual food as well. We long for communion with God. Our souls must be nurtured on “the living bread come down from heaven.”