Discourse in Capernaum I
27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” 28 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” 30 Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ 32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” 35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
How can food endure?
Food is a perishable material. The food a person eats becomes the person’s flesh, and eventually decays. For food to endure, it has to give the one who eats it everlasting life – food that does not just preserve the life of the person, but actually gives eternal life.
What was the Father’s mission for the Son?
The Father willed the Son “to lose nothing.” By this will, the Father asked the Son to give those who believe in Him (the Son) eternal life and resurrection. This means that Christ would have to give His life-giving flesh to the children of God, so that they also may have His life eternal.
How many times did Christ mention resurrection/rising/living forever/eternal life linking it to the Eucharist?
11 times in this chapter.
4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. 5 And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.”14 And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat. 16 This is the thing which the LORD has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.’” 17 Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. 18 So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need. 19 And Moses said, “Let no one leave any of it till morning.” 20 Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. 21 So they gathered it every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted. 22 And so it was, on the sixth day, that they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. 23 Then he said to them, “This is what the LORD has said: ‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.’” 24 So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it. 25 Then Moses said, “Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. 26 Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.” 27 Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none. 28 And the LORD said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws? 29 See! For the LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day. 31 And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. 32 Then Moses said, “This the thing which the LORD has commanded: ‘Fill an omer with it, to be kept for your generations, that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’” 33 And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a pot and put an omer of manna in it, and lay it up before the LORD, to be kept for your generations.” 34 As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept. 35 And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. Exodus 16:4-5, 14-35
What is the test in the Manna?
The main test is “whether they will walk in My law or not,” or if they would truly listen to Me. It is a test of faith in God against all odds. Notice the manna is an occasion for testing, similar to the feeding of the multitude for testing Philip and the walking on water for testing the crowd, and eventually the Eucharist for all generations.
What is Manna…what does it mean?
Manna literally means: “what is it?” It is a marvel to them, as they had never seen anything like it. Again like the Eucharist, the bread of life, there is nothing like it.
How does it look and taste?
Although it looks like coriander seed and tastes like wafers with honey, if kept to the next day it would stink and breed worms. If kept for a long time, wafers neither stink nor breed worms. Flesh does. If we are what we eat, then the lesson is: if they do not rely on God’s promise for tomorrow, if they do not trust and believe, then they would have failed the test, their flesh would suffer decay (stink and breed worms) in the wilderness, and they would never make it to the Promised Land. Now the words of the Christ, “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead” can be understood. If we do not believe the words of Christ regarding the gift of His body and blood, we cannot make it to our Promised Land. And the words are, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have eternal life and I will raise him on the last day.”
Which manna did not decay and why?
The manna that was kept in the Ark of the Covenant remained without corruption. Hidden away from the Israelites, the hidden manna was kept in incorruption by the ever presence of the Holy Spirit –the giver of life- represented by the cloud of glory on top of the mercy seat.
What is the significance of this?
For manna to endure, it would need to be in the possession of the Holy Spirit. In the same way our Lord proclaims: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing”.
“17To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat”