When they saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Master, when did you come here?” Jesus answered, “Truly, I say to you, you look for me, not because of the signs which you have seen, but because you ate bread and were satisfied. Work then, not for perishable food, but for lasting food which gives eternal life. The Son of Man will give it to you, for he is the One on whom the Father has put his mark. Then the Jews asked him, “What shall we do? What are the works that God wants us to do?” And Jesus answered them, “The work of God wants is this: that you believe in the One whom God has sent.” Then they said, “Show us miraculous signs, that we may see and believe you. What sign do you perform? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as Scripture says: “They were given bread from heaven to eat.” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven. My Father gives you the true bread from heaven and gives life to the world.” The bread God gives is the One who comes from heaven and gives life to the world.” And they said to him, “Give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me shall never be hungry, and whoever believes in me shall never be thirsty.” —John 6: 24-35
Jesus continues his mission in the name of His Father, as we recall in the past Sundays’ readings. Jesus together with his disciples preached, taught, healed, fed and led the people who were hungry and thirsty for the message of God.
One has to eat and drink in order to live. Bread is very important that is why in the Scriptures, the symbols and images of vineyard (for the wine), wheat for flour, olive oil, honey (fruit called “dates”) are important ingredients in the making of bread. For Asians, rice, root crops, potato, corn, banana, cassava, and other staple food are essentials. The image of the bread is life itself. It is bread that gives life as people will always go hungry.
In the Gospel, the people were asking for miraculous signs, for that bread that gives life, so that they will never again be hungry nor thirsty. Jesus was telling them that only when they received God in their lives, accepted the One sent by the Father, then they will always be filled by God. Whoever accepts and receives God, will always be filled by God and His grace.
Jesus declared before the people that He is the bread that gives life. As he comes from the Father, he emphatically announced that those who would not want to go hungry and thirsty, they have to come to him and believe.
Let us always gaze on Jesus, the Son of God and of Man. He was sent by the Father to restore the relationship of God and Man because of infidelity, injustice, among others.
Over the week, the Carmelite friars and associates coming from all over the country and from our mission community in Papua New Guinea gathered to celebrate their commissariat- wide Retreat and Mid-Triennium Assembly.
It was an occasion for the Carmelites to once again reflect and share their stories and experiences while they are in the different missions and communities. For Carmelites, prayer and meditation, community worship and the Eucharistic celebrations are always part and interwoven in the very lives of the Carmelites. The Carmelites promised to follow Jesus and only in allegiance to Him. The Carmelites are sustained because of Jesus who is their bread and water in this long journey, history, tradition, and presence.
For Christians today, Jesus the bread of life, Jesus the water of life, will nurture us when we come and believe in Him. The Lord will fill us and satisfy us when we put our trust in Him completely. We all know that in our world today, there are still those who are looking, waiting, and expecting miracles that can be seen by their eyes and experienced in their own lives. They have forgotten that the greatest miracle has already arrived and received by us, the greatest Love of the Father made flesh in Jesus.
Jesus’ incarnation is a miracle of love made flesh, as God gave us manna in the desert to eat, Jesus is here so that we may have life, fullness of life.
Let us ask ourselves sincerely the following guide questions, reflect and pray:
Am I still demanding for miraculous, extraordinary, and concrete signs from God before I believe?
Have I listed to the message of God in the Scriptures and in the daily events of my Christian life? Do I read and reflect on the Word of God?
Do I go and meet God always? Or only when I am hungry and thirsty for justice, for compassion, for understanding, for love, or only when I am in need?
Do I believe in God so that I will not be thirsty again?
Do I receive Jesus as my Bread of Life? As my cup of life?
Prayer: Lord, fill and satisfy us in our hunger and thirst in life, may we be filled by your Word and your grace in our daily living and in the way we relate to others. Fill our hearts and minds with good things and that may we share these with our brothers and sisters. May we not be hungry and thirsty for you, for you who gives life to the world, may we be filled by your truth, mercy, and love. This we ask through Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.