The gospel acclamation gives a clue to the message of Jesus this morning, saying: One does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (MT 4:4). The day after they had eaten their fill from the miraculous multiplication of the loaves and fishes, the crowd could not find Jesus so, knowing that many boats had crossed the Sea of Galilee (not a very far distance) they, themselves, got into boats and found him in Capernaum. When they asked how he got there he didn’t answer but rather said to them, 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. (JN 6).
It’s interesting to follow the 6th chapter of John’s gospel. First we have the miracle when great compassion for the hungry crowds has Jesus creating a meal for 5,000 (plus women and children) out of 5 loaves and 2 fishes. The next day when they come back for more he seems to be remonstrating with them in what he says (quoted above). Maybe he’s just tired of being pursued and looking for a little respite at home. It does sound like he slipped away purposely the night before. I think, however, that he is just pushing them to go a little deeper. It is important to give people the necessities of life before trying to evangelize – missionaries know that – but once people have been fed and provided for on a physical level, it’s time to “go for the gold” in living a spiritual life.
I was thinking how beneficial it has been for me to write this blog almost every day. Reflecting on the Scriptures in this way has sharpened my perception about the universal nature of the messages I find there and the application to daily life becomes clearer with each reflection. Then I find in out-of-the-way places “the word of God” which calls for a response from me. I have become more hungry for that word and believe now that I cannot live without it. It is indeed this food that endures for eternal life.