Do not put your efforts into acquiring the perishable nourishment, but the nourishment which endures and leads to imperishable life. The Son of Man will give it to you. (John 6:27)
If there is anything that binds us to the earth, it is eating and drinking. We have hardly satisfied ourselves, and hunger and thirst are back again. They accompany our earthly life from our first breath to the last, not only in the literal but also in the figurative sense of the word. The thirst for existence is never quenched. Even when we have died, this thirst sooner or later brings us back to the earth, where we still have something to do.
Hunger and thirst also accompanied the life of Jesus Christ on earth. “I thirst”—it was one of the last words on the cross. With this prayer and the bad aftertaste of a bitter beverage He died. But also after His resurrection His hunger and thirst burn for what only we can give Him. Someone once heard Him say: “I am thirsty. I only have what I am given. I take nothing.” [*]
That is also His question to us in the enigmatic, contradictory words from the Gospel of John: “Do not put your efforts into acquiring the perishable nourishment, but the nourishment which endures and leads to imperishable life. The Son of Man will give it to you.” How can Christ ask us for something He Himself gives us?
In the language of the altar this gift, which He gives and asks at the same time, is called the communion. It is much more than a gift. It is also His entreaty: “What can you give me? Can you give yourself to me, now that I have given myself to you?”
Only if I give myself to Him is the meal He wants to share with us perfect. Only then is His thirst for our existence quenched.
–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, March 19, 2023
[*] Gabrielle Bossis, Jesus Speaking: Heart to Heart with the King, Pauline Books and Media.