Putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
John 6:35, 41-51
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
Lets look first at Paul's letter to the Ephesians. If there were ever words to live by this is it. Paul writes, put away falsehood and speak truth to your neighbor. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Thieves must give up stealing. Labor and work honestly. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths. Use your words to build up, not tear down. Put away all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander and malice. Be kind to one another.
Just think if we lived in a world where everyone lived by those words. I believe it can happen and it can start with us. The Chinese have a saying: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step and when we treat each other with kindness and love we start a chain reaction that reaches well beyond what might be imagined. I read a story the other day about something that happened at the drive thru at a fast food restaurant. One person decided to pay the bill for the car that was directly behind him. The person in that car decided to pay for the car behind her. And so it went for many cars. Random acts of kindness bring joy to so many and it often starts with someone taking that first kind step.
Paul took the words of Jesus and expressed them to the people of Ephesus. Those words were part of a movement that is still alive today. We are the ones who are living the message of truth, honesty, and kindness.
In this Gospel reading, Jesus is telling us to become a part of him. Jesus tells us he is the spiritual bread of life and that if we eat that spiritual bread we will have eternal life. Jesus spoke in metaphors and I am sure it was problematic for many of his followers. When Jesus said he was the bread of life, it was his way of saying that we must bind ourselves to him and his message of love and faith.
When we become faithful Christians. When we consume this bread of life that is Jesus, we are changed and the world is changed because of us.