THE BREAD OF LIFE
“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life (ὁ ἄρτος τῆς ζωῆς); he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out…” (Jn 6: 35-37)
Today, on Bright Saturday, the special Easter “Bread” or “Artos,” which we see on a small table before the iconostasis in our churches all of Bright Week, is broken and distributed to the faithful. The “Artos” was first blessed on the night of Pascha, and carried around the church in processions throughout this week. It signifies, or points to, the presence of the Lord among us, His disciples, after His resurrection.
So that is why I’m thinking about this passage, in which Christ calls Himself “the bread of life.” Here He also says to the crowd, nay, pleads with the crowd, to believe Him. “You have seen me and yet do not believe.” Because He knows we are a disbelieving bunch, with “trust issues” when it comes to Him. Nonetheless, if you “come to me,” however and whoever you are, He assures me, I will not cast you out.
And tomorrow, on Thomas Sunday, He will further address our doubts, and further assure us, also those of us who did not see Him in the flesh as those first disciples did: “Blessed are those who have not seen,” He will say to all of us, “and yet have believed.” (Jn 20: 29) So today “Do not be faithless, but believe” (Jn 20: 27), I hear Him say to me, because I have that choice. I can, indeed, approach Him, the Bread of Life, once again. And once again, I will not hunger, or thirst, or, indeed, be “cast out,” for He is risen indeed!