When the crowd found Jesus on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal." Then they said to him, "What must we do to perform 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, "What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, `He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" Then Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which 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 will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." John 6:25-35
Today we are celebrating Thanksgiving as a parish family. The tables are being set and folks are decorating and making ready for a feast. We as people get very focused when it is time for a big meal or festivity. Sometimes we forget to prepare our hearts in the same way we fuss of decorations and dishes. The meat or lack there of is really not why we get together. We get together because we are loved by God, and in that love we can share everything, our plenty and our want.
Jesus is followed by a crowd who seems confused. Many followers of Jesus, then and now, are confused on how we should go and where we should be. Jesus invites them to consider their relationship with God primary, rather than where they are or who is setting the table. We are invited, in this season of gratitude, to consider our hearts, our attitudes and concerns, so that we truly focus on the love and let the decoration and the artifice go. God will be with us however we set our table, in how little and how much we have, and in our willingness to draw together in love.
Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.