Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Today the Gypsy people, including those of Islamic faith, celebrate St. George, who died a martyr to free the Church

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 6, 30-35

So they said, 'What sign will you yourself do, the sight of which will make us believe in you? What work will you do?

Our fathers ate manna in the desert; as scripture says: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'

Jesus answered them: In all truth I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, it is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven, the true bread;

for the bread of God is the bread which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.

'Sir,' they said, 'give us that bread always.'

Jesus answered them: I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever hunger; no one who believes in me will ever thirst.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The verses at the end of the previous Gospel passage report the question that people pose to Jesus: “What must we do to perform the works of God?” In fact, Jesus rebuked them for seeking only their own satisfaction. At their request, Jesus replied, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” We are not required a multitude of things to do, as claimed by the Pharisees, but only one: to believe in the One sent by God. The crowd, however, insists with him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing?” In front of the great miracle of the multiplication of the loaves that had already taken place, such a request is unjustified and pretentious. In truth, the crowd aims to obtain an even more extraordinary sign that may credit Jesus as the One sent by God. Maybe they wanted to solve the problem of food, not only for the five thousand people who had benefited from the miracle, but for all the people of Israel, as it had occurred at the time of the manna. In fact, the remembrance of the manna was still very much alive in the tradition of Israel and is often mentioned in the books of the Old Testament. And, at the coming of the Messiah, all were expecting the recurrence of this miracle. However, the self-centeredness of the crowd and their lack of trust in Jesus are evident: they do not want to risk anything. To their unbelief, Jesus answers that it was not Moses who gave them the bread from heaven, but “it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” By using the words “true bread,” Jesus interprets manna as the image of the new bread that would come in the future with the Messiah. Jesus himself was the new bread, “the bread of God” that comes from heaven. But the hardness of the hearts and minds of the audience does not allow them to understand in depth the words of Jesus. They continue to interpret them starting from themselves, their needs, and their instincts. They do not understand what Jesus really means. This also happens to us when we do not go deeply in the words of the Gospel because we hear them starting from ourselves and not from what they really want to tell us. A “spiritual” reading of the Bible is needed, a reading made in prayer and in the availability of the heart. The Holy Scripture must be heard with the help of the Spirit and in communion with other brothers and sisters. Without prayer, we risk having ourselves -and not the Lord – as the ones who are speaking. And without the community of brothers and sisters, our “I” precludes us from that broad dialogue for which the Bible was written. At this point, the request of the crowd is correct: “Sir, give us this bread always.” In fact, it still sounds false; it happens even with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman at the well. But Jesus does not withdraw, and with even more evident clarity, he says solemnly: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” It is a solemn and typical affirmation in the Gospel of John. With these words, Jesus shows his divine origin. Browsing through the pages of the fourth Gospel, we see that Jesus uses many concrete images to make us understand the greatness of his love for us: He is the true bread, the real life, the truth, the light, the door, the good shepherd, the true vine, the living water...he is the resurrection.