At mass today, Catholics hear John 6:24-35, which is a continuation of the bread of life discourse that started last week, where Jesus feeds the 5000 from the five loaves and two fish. That was food for earthly life. But Jesus now begins talking about food for eternal life. When those where feed by the five loaves come looking for Jesus across the sea, Jesus says: "Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled." In other words, they just wanted another free meal. But Jesus tells them "Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you."
They still don't get it, and ask him "What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do?" which is really uncalled for. They had seen his healing power. They had heard his preaching. There had been signs aplenty. And still they asked for more signs. But Jesus does not condemn them. He continues to explain to them "Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." When Jesus says "life to the world", he is referring to eternal life, whereas the mana in the desert was only for that day and only for earthly life.
When the people say "Sir, give us this bread always" they probably still don't understand the significance of what Jesus just said, and are still thinking about the loaves and fishes they had the day before. So Jesus tries once more to explain to them by saying "I am the bread of life." This is more than "I am the provider of the bread of life." Jesus says he IS the bread of life. What is equivalence entails is what we will get to in next Sunday's readings.
Jesus said his flesh is the bread which descended out of heaven and gives life to the world.
51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” 52 Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me, he also will live because of me. 58 THIS is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”
Tell us when his flesh had come down out of heaven.