Commentary on the Gospel of
Jesus is at pains to point out that true faith is deeper than amazement at the sensational and the spectacular. Jesus is not about the spectacular but rather about life – the giving and nurturing of it. In the famous Jn 10:10 he said he had come that we might have life, life in all its fullness. The giving of Manna long ago in the desert was a pre-figuring of Jesus as the true bread of life that had come into the world. People in the desert ate bread to satisfy physical hunger and to sustain physical life. Spiritual hunger can be satisfied and spiritual life sustained only through an intimate relationship with Jesus. That is why Jesus declared himself as the bread of life.
The manner of Stephen’s dying in the first reading is the fruit of faith, and his personal relationship with Jesus. His death is modelled on the way Jesus died. Both Jesus and Stephen died asking for forgiveness for their persecutors. That is the witness of a strong spirit nourished by the bread of life.