Monday, January 30, 2012
Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing 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, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who 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 shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:27-40
On our way home from visiting with our youngest in Boston, we stopped for a late lunch at a favorite diner along the road. We have been there many times and always enjoyed the food. They are also well known for their bread and pastries which adorn the front counter area, tempting all who stand still there even for a minute. We left with a loaf of their famous challah bread, along with some other tasty treats to give others we were visiting. There is nothing so wonderful as fresh baked bread, the taste and aroma, all sensations which evoke comfort and contentment.
In our gospel, Jesus is using the familiar images of bread and manna to make a point about the life of faith. He wants those who follow him to stop worrying about their daily food and focus on their faithfulness. Like us, they are easily distracted by the idea and images of bread. They were hungry to be fed spiritually, but also worried about where their next meal was coming from. In times like these, when many are without the basic necessities of life, it might be hard to hear what Jesus is saying. We are being invited to live beyond the hand to mouth, to imagine the fullness of God, the abundance of possibilities in lean times. We are invited to believe in a God who has more in store for us than just the basics, more abundance and possibilities than we can even imagine.
Today I ask God to help me to focus beyond today, beyond the immediate needs and circumstances, trusting that today and always are in God's hands. I ask for the strength to imagine and believe in the promised abundance, the courage to act with hope and conviction, and the faith to see the possible in impossible situations. May we all trust God for our daily needs, and believe that the eternal gifts are for us all, sharing freely little we may have today, knowing God will supply the abundance for all.