Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B
"I am the bread of life"
It is wonderful that God should have caused manna to rain down for our father and that each day they should have been satisfied with the bread of heaven. Hence it is said: “Man ate the bread of angels” (Ps 77,25). Nevertheless, those who ate that bread in the desert have all died. By contrast, this food that you are receiving, this living bread come down from heaven, provides support for eternal life and whoever eats it will never die. This is the body of Christ…
The former manna came from heaven, this came from under heaven ; that was heaven’s gift, this from heaven’s Lord ; that one was subject to corruption if people kept it till the next day, this is incapable of corruption : whoever tastes it devoutly cannot be tainted with corruption. Water flowed from the rock for the Hebrews, blood flows from Christ for you. The water quenched their thirst for a brief moment, but the blood washes you clean for ever. The Hebrews drank and were thirsty again. But once you have drunk you will never thirst again (Jn 4,14). The former was a prefiguration, this is the fullness of truth…
It was a « shadow of things to come » (Col 2,17). Listen to what was made known to our fathers: “They drank, it is said, of the rock that followed them in the desert; now, this rock was Christ” (1Cor 10,4)… As for you, you have known the fulfilment, you have seen the fullness of light, the truth prefigured, the body of the Creator rather than manna from heaven… What we eat and drink the Holy Spirit expresses elsewhere: “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Happy are those who hope in him” (Ps 33,9).
Saint Ambrose (c.340-397), Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church
On the mysteries, 48-49, 58