"When you approach the tabernacle remember that He has been waiting for you for twenty centuries."--St. Josemaria Escriva
Gospel text (Jn 6,35-40):
Jesus said to the crowds,
“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.
But I told you that although you have seen me,
you do not believe.
Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.”
Today’s Gospel reminded me of a book I read two years ago: Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza. I would strongly suggest for you to pick up a copy and read it. Immaculee’s story is her personal story of surviving the Rwanda genocide. All of Immaculee’s family was murdered in the genocide, some by their own friends. A kind pastor takes Immaculee in and hides her. The book is her account of the genocide as well as how she learned to completely put her trust in God, finding peace in a time of chaos, and allowed God to soften her heart so she could completely forgive the people who murdered her family.
Immaculee’s story perfectly reflects today’s Gospel, by being a true example of relying only on God for everything, even mere survival. Many of us take the blessings we have for granted: food, shelter, water, family, community, freedom, etc. (I know I definitely do). It is easy for me to get sucked into today’s norm of continuously wanting more, never being satisfied, while trying to rely only on myself to obtain even the basic blessings of life: food, shelter, happiness. Through personal experiences, I’ve come to realize that I cannot obtain even the smallest grain of wheat on my own. All things come through our loving Father. The culture we live in makes it difficult, but I need to remember this on a daily basis. I need to stop giving myself credit for these blessings that have come into my life. I need to instead recognize I can only do these things because of the loving Father who has greatly blessed me. I am given the gift of a new day because of him. I am alive because of his love for me.
Jesus Christ invites us to follow him, to nourish ourselves through him, for this is what it means to see him and believe in him. At the same time, He shows us how to abide by his Father's will, just as He does. When teaching his disciples the prayer of the sons of God, the Lord's Prayer, He put together these two petitions: «Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today the bread that we need». This refers not only to the material bread, but to Himself, as the bread of eternal life whom, day after day, we have to remain very close to with the profound cohesion the Holy Spirit provides us with.