Monday, April 23, 2012

The proof of love is in the works

Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist. -- Pope St. Gregory the Great

Gospel text (Jn 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."

On a good day we usually watch out for our physical health. We wash our hands and take out the garbage. We try not to eat bad food. For those very reasons I really love the reminder which Jesus offers us today: "Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life." (Jn 6:27)

Have we been working for, looking for, trying to get by on, food that perishes? Is the stuff we as a society been trying to survive with actually not what we need to live? Might it be starving us? Even toxic?

Jesus is certainly the Bread of life. Those who come to Him will never be hungry, and those who believe in Him shall not thirst again (Jn 6:35). Jesus loves to provide for us (see 1 Tm 6:6). Paradoxically, in the Christian life, we are filled when we focus on emptying ourselves (see Phil 2:7). We are fulfilled when we deny ourselves (Lk 9:23). We are fed when we forget about ourselves and feed others.

Jesus asked His first disciples this question: "What are you looking for?" (Jn 1:38) By your life, how are you answering Jesus' question?

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