The Gospel according to John (6:22-29)
[After Jesus had fed the five thousand men, his disciples saw him walking on the sea.] The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat, but only his disciples had left. Other boats came from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread when the Lord gave thanks. When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
“Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered them and said, “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. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.” So they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to me as I turn my heart to you. I need your resurrected power and life. Just as you opened the Scriptures to the disciples on the way to Emmaus, open the Gospel to me and reveal your heart. Make my heart burn while you speak to me.
Encountering Christ: Imagine if you were one of those people who witnessed, firsthand, the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Let’s put it in our perspective in a setting that we are familiar with. Let’s imagine we went to our parish and there was this man that everyone was following who was named Jesus. The rumors in the crowd is spreading like wild flower about the miracles He did and that He resurrected from the dead. Then this man, wanted everyone to eat but only two parishioners brought food. One brought some tacos and the other brought lumpia. Just as Jesus realized this, men from the Knights of Columbus brought the mariachis and some sangria to drink. Now, it’s a party! Jesus realizes that there isn’t enough for all 5000 of us so before our eyes He creates enough for everyone. And we all left the parish with Joy, good memories, and our bellies full. So does that make you a Believer?!
What sort of an impact would that have had on you? Would it have drawn you into a deep faith in Jesus, the Son of God? Or would you have been more impressed with the free and miraculous food? What’s interesting is that Jesus feeds the five thousand when they are not expecting it and not desiring it. But when they do come expecting it and desiring it the next day, He refuses. Jesus refuses another miracle because He wants the people to look deeper to the eternal reality.
What do you work for in life? That which ultimately perishes? Or that which is eternal? This is an important question to sincerely answer. Too often we spend most of our lives putting most of our time and energy into those things that have little value for eternity. But according to this scripture, we should be seeking “Food for Eternity”.
The day before the above quoted conversation, Jesus had multiplied the loaves and fishes and fed five thousand households. The people were so impressed that the next day, when they were hungry again, they came looking for Jesus and found Him on the other side of the lake. Jesus, of course, immediately understands the situation. He realizes that the crowd of people who found Him were more interested in another meal than they were in the spiritual food that is eternal. So Jesus gently uses the opportunity to give them this short lesson about what is most important. The “food that endures for eternal life” is ultimately faith in Jesus.
In our own lives, living primarily for the deeper and eternal reality is often hard to do. It’s easy to keep our eyes on the superficial and less important aspects of life. How do I make more money? Or buy a new car? Or have a favorite meal (tacos and/or lumpia)? How can I better entertain myself? What new piece of clothing should I buy? And the list goes on. Of course, none of these things are evil, but they are all passing and will not have an effect upon our eternal soul. And, in fact, if we give too much attention to the superficial and least important aspects of life, they will have the effect of distracting us from that which is most important.
Do not work for that which perishes; work for that which is eternal. Look at your priorities in life.
Closing Prayer: My most glorious Lord, You are the Food that is eternal. You are the Food for everlasting life. Give me the wisdom I need, dear Lord, to turn my eyes from the passing and least important things of this world and to turn, instead, to that which is eternal. May I keep my eyes upon You and be nourished by my faith in You. Jesus, I trust in You.
Action of the Day: Where is your focus? What concerns you the most every day? Hopefully your greatest concern is to grow deeper in faith in the Son of God. Hopefully it is to live the charity that is eternal. If you honestly look at your life and the goals you have and see yourself overly concerned with the things of this world, then allow these words of our Lord to speak to you directly so that you are storing up riches for eternal life.