Elijah was downcast. Queen Jezebel had just ordered his death. Just a few days earlier, Elijah had found himself in a moment of jubilation. He had just “outdueled” four hundred prophets of the false god Baal. In a matter of days, Elijah went from fearless confidence in God to fearing for his life. He went from feeling like a special messenger of God to feeling like a worthless vine. It was so bad that Elijah even asked God to take his life In this dire moment, God sent some food and an angel to help Elijah. The angel told him, “Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you” (1 Kings 19:7).
Like Elijah, we all have a moment of jubilation and moments of discouragement. We may be dealing with difficulties at work or at home, we may have lost our confidence and feel like a failure. These moments of hardship can sap the life right out of us. In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus telling people that he is the Bread of Life “that came down from heaven” (John 6:51). Even greater than the food that God provided for Elijah, Jesus offers us living bread, his own flesh. He offers us his own life in the Eucharist so that we don’t ever have to lose hope. As we take and eat, Jesus can minister to our fearful and broken hearts. Even the simple act of eating this Bread can help us feel better.
The Eucharist inspires us to hold on to our faith, even when we are downcast. It reminds us that Jesus was completely human, like us in every way except sin. He was tempted just like us. He suffered like us. So he knows what it’s like to be troubled.
So take and eat today, knowing that Jesus is with you through even your most troubling times. He will give you his energy for the long haul.