No matter how much we think we know, there is always more to learn. Consider the world around us. Early cultures divided matter into earth, air, fire, and water. But over the centuries, scientists realized that matter was made up of atoms. Further discoveries identified smaller components, such as electrons, protons, and neutrons. Now experts have found even smaller particles like quarks, gluons, and bosons. There is always more to discover!
You could say that Jesus was saying something similar in today’s Gospel. After having multiplied the loaves and fishes for them, he asked the people to go beyond what they already understood about being fed. The did not need to be told what bread was – it was a big part of their diet. He wanted to offer them the “true bread from heaven”. This bread would not feed just their bodies, it would sustain their souls.
Jesus has a similar lesson for us. We know that the Eucharist is no ordinary bread, but when we go to the same church and sit in the same pew week after week, receiving Communion can become routine. Familiarity might make us pay attention only to the physical. Host we are receiving rather than the sacramental presence of Christ.
If you feel as if Mass has become a little too familiar, try looking at Jesus more closely during the week. Every morning, choose one Scripture passage about him and try to remember it during the day. It might be a passage about the Eucharist. “This is my body, which will be give for you.” Or it might be a passage from the daily Gospel reading. Take just one verse, and ponder it. Ask the Spirit to help you understand Jesus more deeply.
As you read that Scripture passage, take the time to let Jesus show you something new about himself, something that builds on what you already know of him. You will find that the deeper you go, the more you will recognize the Eucharist as Jesus himself, the “true bread from heaven”.