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The Bread of Life

by Fr. Jack McArdle with Aneel Aranha

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)

I remember a simple incident that happened to me some years ago now. It was in the midst of winter, the weather was very bad, and I had driven to the extreme north of the country to say Mass for a Prayer Group. I had taken precautions to ensure that my car wasn't blocked in, because it was my intention to come off the altar, get out of the vestments, make straight for the car, and I would be approaching the outer ring road of Belfast before the choir would be finished their final hymn! As I rushed for the car, to my horror, I must confess, I saw an elderly lady standing by the side of the car. My initial thought was that she had suspected what I might have in mind, and was one ahead of me. I imagined myself having to listen as she told me her life-story, or all the family problems. I resigned myself to the inevitable, and was not at all prepared for what happened when I reached the car. She produced a little boat-shaped basket, filled with beautiful little triangular sandwiches of all kinds, and the whole lot was covered with cling-film. "I was thinking today, Father, that you'd have a long drive ahead of you after you finished here to-night, so I made you these to be eating as you go on your way. God bless, and may you have a safe trip." For once I was lost for words! Food for the journey! (I still have the little basket here on my desk as I write…..).

Jesus speaks of himself as being food for us, sent from the Father in heaven. Unlike ordinary food, which just sustains life, this food gives a life that is eternal. Eat of it!


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