So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.”
Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Last week Sunday, we had the story of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes from the beginning of Chapter 6 of John’s Gospel. Though we are using Mark’s Gospel for our Sunday readings this year, because it is the shortest of the four Gospels, the Church gives us part of John’s Gospel during the summer. It’s the part in which Jesus teaches about the Eucharist.
Today, we hear how the crowds came looking for Jesus after the miracle and how he challenges them, telling them that they’re really only looking for him, “because you ate the loaves and were filled.” This is a common temptation. In our day it plays itself out in a phenomenon known as the “Gospel of Prosperity.” The idea is that, if you stay close to Jesus and follow His teaching, you will enjoy financial prosperity. The saints show us that following Jesus is no guarantee of financial success. Jesus doesn’t allow Himself to be used in that way. He Himself fought this temptation.
Remember the story of how Jesus was tempted in the desert for forty days? He fought the devil by quoting the Scriptures, one of which was from the Book of Deuteronomy: “One does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (8: 3). Jesus is saying that there are more important things than material goods. He’s saying that while we need to pay attention to our daily bread-the food we need to sustain our bodies-we also need to pay attention to the daily bread that sustains our souls.
What is that “daily bread?” Some think this refers only to the Word of God, but Jesus makes it clear in today’s Gospel that the bread that He gives is more than just His words, more than just His teaching. He said point blank: “I am the bread of life.” He didn’t say, “My words are the bread of life.” Yet at every Mass He gives us both —His words in the Bible and His very self in Holy Communion.
—Fr. James Kubicki, S.J.
Lord, you place before us today an awesome promise: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” No matter how discouraging life may seem; no matter how long the road to health, no matter how unsure we are of the future, we must hold to the promise in today’s Gospel. When all else is thrown into question, when we see no relief despite our constancy of hard work, the Lord tells us to hold on. Speak with him. Don’t hold back your worries, frustrations, or feelings of emptiness. Give him a chance. Just listen and keep listening when only silence seems to befriend you. Begin to sense a peace – keep coming back to him. Wait, listen, and believe.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!