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In today's Gospel Jesus teaches that he is the 'bread of life' and that anyone who 'comes to me will never be hungry; and the one who believes in me will never thirst'.

This means that no substitute for God can ever full our desire for Him. St Theresa of Avila once wrote that: ‘the soul is never content with anything less than God’ (Life, 29). In the opening words of the Catechism: ‘The desire for God is written in the human heart, because it is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will man find the truth and happiness he never stops yearning for’. This was the conclusion of St Augustine who for many years tried in vain to seek the happiness he craved in places, people and things other than God. He famously wrote: ‘You have made us for yourself O God and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee’ (Confessions 1,1,1)

This human desire for God is also expressed in the Scriptures. The psalms express the desire for God as a thirst that only God can quench: ‘O God you are my God for you I long. My body pines for you like a dry weary land without water’ (Ps. 63:1). In the Gospel of John, Jesus continues to name this human desire as thirst and promises that this thirst can be satisfied by faith in him: ‘let anyone who is thirsty come to me! Let anyone who believes in me come and drink! As Scripture says, ‘from his heart shall flow streams of living water’ (John 7: 37-38; cf. John 4: 10-14). Faith in him creates a spring of living water which never runs dry, welling up in us like a fountain to eternal life. . Jesus also describes our deepest human desire as a hunger that is satisfied by faith in him that is nourished at the Eucharist: ‘I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever hunger...I am the living bread which has come down from heaven…anyone who eats this bread will live forever’ (John 6: 35,51, 58). this is the context to today's Gospel.


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