( A commentary on John 6: 22-29)
On the next day the people who remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. 23 However, boats from Tiberias came near the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6: 22-29)
In today’s Gospel, those who had received the free meal of loaves and fishes had come along the north lip of the Sea of Galilee looking for Jesus there. Because they knew Jesus hadn’t gotten into the boat with the other disciples, they asked, “Rabbi, when did you get there?” But Jesus wasn’t interested in small talk. Jesus wanted to help them to grow in faith, to help them to recognize why they were following him and to challenge him to follow him for the right reasons.
They have seen the things that Jesus has been doing but have missed the ‘sign’, the deeper meaning behind them. The food they are looking for is not the food that counts. The real food brings a life that never ends and that is the food that Jesus is offering.
The source of this ‘bread’ is the Son on whom the Father has set his seal. This ‘seal’ was given at his baptism. It is the Spirit of the Father, who is the power of God working in and through Jesus.
Many of us come to the Lord not just with wants but real material needs, not knowing how we’re going to pay the rent, or put food on the table, purchase the medications they need, or find a job to help support those they love. God wants to hear these prayers. As a loving Father, he wants us to bring our needs to him. It wasn’t this that Jesus was criticizing.
Jesus was criticizing the fact that they had stopped there, that all they were concerned about were their material needs. He wants them to set their minds on the food that gives eternal life.
And he asks them and us not just to ‘believe’ but to ‘believe in’. It is not just a question of accepting certain statements about Jesus and who he really is. ‘Believing in’ involves a total and unconditional commitment of the whole self to Jesus, to the Gospel and the vision of life that he proposes and making it part of one’s own self. This is where the real bread is to be found.
For it is only God can satisfy the hunger in our heart and soul – the hunger for truth, for life, for eternal love and peace.
Prayer of The Day
“Jesus, help me to seek You. Help me to seek You for the help and healing I need. But more than that, help me to seek You out of love. My Jesus, I do love You. Help me to love You more. Jesus, I trust in You. “
Jesus often asks the question: what do you seek? What would you like me to do? Do you want to be healed? Jesus’ desire is to fill the emptiness that inhabits each of us. Like the first disciples, we too seek an answer. And yet, life pushes us beyond the established definitions of things, especially with God
When we are lost and confused, we often turn to God for answers and help. But ideally, we will eventually seek God for more than just healing or comfort. We will ultimately seek God for the reason of love. We will seek Him simply because we love Him and want to love Him all the more. Reflect, today, upon your desire to seek Jesus, or lack thereof. When you can begin to seek out Jesus simply because you love Him and want to love Him more, you are on the right road. And as you walk down that road, you find it is a road of the utmost delight and fulfilment.