Behold a mystery: today our Lord Jesus Christ multiplies bread for the multitude. But how can this be? Bread doesn't work like that. To get bread to multiply you've got to plant some grains, tend them, weed them out – then harvest, thrash, and grind them; then mix and cook them. It is a process that takes a lot of toil and sweat – just as God said it would. For you recall what God said to Adam in the garden after he had turned away from God and toward sin, “Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
So Repent sons and daughters of Adam: for this curse falls on you as well. You too have walked in the ways of your father's sins. Since Adam's fall no one is free from sin, and so no one may eat bread except by the sweat of the brow. So, beloved, behold a mystery in today's Gospel lesson: For Jesus gives bread to the crowds without the sweat of their brows; but no bread may be eaten without the sweat of the brow, without toil and hardship. And so it is with this bread as well. Neither does this bread come without toil, hardship, and the sweat of the brow: it's just that the sweat, toil, and hardship does not come from the crowds, but from Jesus.
Thus by this miracle Jesus proclaims in a living a picture of what he is about to do: he will give the Bread of Life to the world by the bloody sweat of his brow, by the toil of his cross, by the hardship of his suffering. He will allow the dusty flesh which he took from Mary to be beaten, reviled, and crucified and then returned to the dust of the tomb. But death could not hold the Lord of Life – the lifeless clay of his body rose again and is the true life-filled, live-giving Manna from heaven. That is how Jesus can multiply bread: by the sweat of his brow.
So Rejoice dear Christians: the Lord has purchased for you the bread of Life – his own Flesh. It comes to you free of charge. The fathers ate manna in the wilderness, but they died. But he who eats this flesh of Christ will not die, but live forever – for Christ has promised that he will raise those who eat it on the last day. For his flesh is true food and his blood is true drink: it is given to you at his Altar by the power of his Word and sure Promise. You have the true bread of life – eating and drinking this you will receive life everlasting. Your body too will be thus outfitted for resurrection. For how could you not be forgiven and raised from the dead? The Lord fills you with his own body and blood – which bursts at the seams with life and divine power – if he puts that in you, you cannot be left in the tomb. Filled with Jesus' body your body will receive his fate: resurrection and life.
So be glad when they say to you: “Let us go to the House of the Lord!” For here at the Lord's House there is the bread of life which is purchased not by the sweat of your brow, but by the sweat of Jesus' brow. Here there is the finest vintage of heaven: the Blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. So Hence all fear and sadness, dear Christians, for the Lord of gladness, Jesus, enters in. He is here today to renew and replenish you with his own life. He is here to give you the Bread of Life by the sweat of his brow, to give you his own Body and Blood, to fill you with life, to forgive you, raise you, and make you glad. So beloved: Rejoice!