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.” (John 6:22-29)
We have all been here . . . either as parents giving counsel or as a young adult receiving counsel or as a patient listening to a therapist.
What do you really want or what are you searching for?
The crowds in today’s Gospel missed the point of what Jesus was doing. They saw the things that Jesus has been doing but they 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.
Jesus gently rebukes them, taking this as an opportunity to point out the real reason they should be seeking Him. The real reason is that He wants to provide the spiritual food of eternal life. What is the food Jesus wants you to seek? That’s a question you must let our Lord answer in your heart.
There are two key questions we should ponder here so as to let Him answer us. First, “What do I want in life?” Spend time with that. Spend time all by yourself and try to be honest with this question. What do you want? What is your heart’s desire? If you are honest and if you let yourself face your desires you will most likely find that you have some desires, or even many, that are not put in your heart by Christ. Recognizing what these desires are is the first step to discovering what the true food is that Jesus wants to give you.
At the end of this Gospel story, Jesus invites us not to just believe, but believe in. To me, “believing in” means more than just a head or intellectual believing. It takes committing our whole selves, not just believing in our head, or not justbelieving when it’s clear or easy. That’s the second of the key questions: Do you believe in Jesus so much that you will commit your life to living out His word?
I was once rebuked by a parishioner at the end of one of my sermons. After the usual pleasantries at the back of the church, he said that he did not understand why so many of my sermons were about living His word. I told him that was because living out the Gospel in today’s world was difficult and that we need each other for confirmation and for support. But that was the command to each of ours. Its not just an intellectual assent but a total response by us to Him. “Yes, Lord, I believe and love you enough that I commit my life to you.”
Jesus offers a new relationship with God which issues in a new kind of life: A life of love and service, and the forgiveness of others which corresponds to God’s mercy and kindness; a life of holiness and purity which corresponds to God’s holiness; and a life of submission and trust which corresponds to the wisdom of God. This is the work which Jesus directs us to and enables us to perform in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The question is whether we nod our head in assent to that life or look away for a message that is less challenging?
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, you alone can satisfy the deepest longing and hunger in our hearts. May we always hunger for the imperishable bread, that we may be satisfied in you alone as the True Bread of Heaven. Nourish and strengthen us that we may serve you with great joy, generosity, and zeal all the days of our life”.
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 fulfillment.