April 24th, 2023

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.”

Reflection: You know the old saying; “Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man to Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime. 

I recall when I worked in DTLA, there was a huge “Food Truck Craze” about 2016-2018. People would follow these trucks everywhere in L.A. The food truck owner would post what address they were at via social media such as Twitter or Instagram. Then people would come by the hundreds and wait in line for exclusive delicacies such as hybrid Grilled Cheese sandwiches, or Korean Tacos, or Donuts with ham and bacon or some other creative “over-priced” delicacy. People believed in this craze. They believed that the food was great. But just like everything else, it was just a craze.

In contrast, I see too many people that are hungry, thirsty, naked, and un-loved. I see it every day at Mary’s Mercy Center (MMC) in San Bernardino. For those that don’t know, MMC is a place where they feed, clothe, and allow daily showers to the unprivileged, the marginalized, or the alienated. It’s a place where they are not judged, and everyone is the same color. It’s a place for them to hang out, have a hot meal in a safe place. It’s a place that offers simple things that we don’t think of such as restrooms or a place to brush their teeth. None of these folks are screaming for help but we all know that they need it. These folks are beautiful people that are actually a joy to converse with. They are looking to be fed with love … the love of people.  

We look to God for many things. Jesus notices that his disciples follow now to get more bread: they wanted to be fed and not to lack ordinary food. Jesus has more to give. He offers the food and the drink of eternal life. The food and drink of his love and the love of God which will never get stale or run dry. This is the food of faith – prayer is the nourishment of faith.

Jesus is always leading us beyond where we are, beyond our hunger for physical food to the ‘the food that endures for eternal life’. He reveals what this means step by step. The key task we must perform is to believe in him as the one sent by the Holy Father. 

Believing is ‘the work of God’. It is what God wants of us. It is also what God works in us. God nourishes the roots of faith in us when we pray. Here he shows us that belief and trust are works of God. I ask God to help me to make a good act of faith. Jesus does not separate belief and activity.

Action of the Day: Believe in the mission that God has asked you take. Have you started it yet? 

Audio Reflection:

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