One day when I was a four or five, I went with my mom to visit my godmother. While the two of them sat in the den chatting, I went into the backyard to play, and while I was running around, I noticed, of all things, scraps of chocolate cake on the lawn. My godmother’s upstairs neighbor Rose had thrown bits of cake onto the grass for the birds to eat. Without thinking twice, I picked up some of it and started munching. Bad move. My mom happened to be looking out the window to check on me. She roared out the window. “Stop that. What will the neighbors think! When you’re hungry, you just ask your mom, and she’ll give you something to eat.” I was hungry the cake looked good, but it was really dry and stale.
Like my mom Jesus wants us to go to him for everything we need. He desperately wants to fill us with himself, Jesus longs to give himself away to us, to be one with us. He wants to give us the everything that he is, the everything that God is. And so, he declares that his flesh is real food, Bread that nourishes and satisfies us beyond anything we can experience or imagine. Jesus calls us away from all the stale “stuff” that can only impede his access to our hearts. Our constant work is to be and to remain incessantly hungry for the Bread that he is, the Bread that we receive in the Holy Eucharist.