God created a world full of goodness; God provided manna in the desert through the agency of Moses; God provides all our food through the agency of our farmers and fishermen. As stewards of God's creation we have a duty to share his goodness with fairness and justice and generosity to all. I continue to be impressed by the efforts of people here who generously support the local food bank and the Cornelius fund. So many have no choice - we see the results of this unequal distribution of resources in the queues of migrants on our borders. But our gospel today reminds us that, in truth, none of us has a choice when it comes down to what really matters. Bread, any bread, will feed our physical bodies. But for the food that endures for eternal life we have but one choice - Jesus. 'I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry.' He makes this offer to all of us - the bread of God gives life to the whole world - to all of us, whether we live in this rich part of the world, or in the Two Thirds world where choice is limited - God offers the bread of life in Jesus to each of us - we are all equals, brothers and sisters, in creation. And so, like generation upon generation before us, we give thanks to God for his generosity to us, for the abundance of blessings he has showered upon us - so well illustrated in Jim Martins' sculpture. We do dwell in a land flowing with milk and honey!

Today is an extraordinary day for me, a very special day - for my first sacramental Eucharist I preside at the annual Harvest Thanksgiving - our super-special celebration of all Eucharists, of all God's bounty to us this year. Because the word Eucharist means Thanksgiving. Each Sunday we celebrate the Harvest Thanksgiving of the week that has passed. At every celebration of the Eucharist we offer bread - fruit of the earth; and wine - fruit of the vine; and both the work of human hands. We offer to God in thanksgiving ourselves and our lives: not just the good bits, the successes, the hooray bits that made us happy, but the bad bits as well: the pain, the tears, the loss, the suffering. Because the sacrament of the Eucharist does not skate over the cost of service and self-giving. This Thanksgiving was inaugurated by the Son of God who willingly gave himself to a shameful death. He trusted in God. Even at the last when he felt himself totally cut off from his Father he did not stop loving and forgiving. For God's steadfast love endures forever. The suffering he endured was transformed into new life at the resurrection: he is the bread of life who gives life to the world. The Eucharist is the symbol, the icon, of that transformation. Through his death Jesus gives his body and blood to give us that new resurrection life - Jesus, who rose from the dead and is often described as the first fruit of God's new creation, the first fruit of God's great harvest of humanity; Jesus, the first offering, the first Eucharist of thanksgiving. We who eat this bread and drink this cup are one body because we all share in one bread. We become the new life of the body of Christ. We become one body with all our brothers and sisters throughout the world who share the bread of life.

So as we bring to God all our joys and sorrows from this last year and offer the fruits of our Harvest (good and bad, happy and sad), we offer ourselves in community with God and the whole creation. We choose the bread of life - Jesus. We unite as the Body of Christ, acknowledging that we aren't perfect, that injustices still exist - the inequalities and hardships suffered by a great many - but resolved to do something about them. Then the whole world will be able to rejoice in the Lord always and find the peace of God which passes all understanding.