Contemplating today's Gospel

Liturgical day: Monday of the Third Week of Easter

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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.”

Comment: Abbé Jacques FORTIN (Alma (Quebec), Canada)

«Work (…) for the food that endures for eternal life»

Today, after the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, the people went looking for Jesus as far as Capernaum. Then as now, people are seeking the divine. Isn't the proliferation of religious sects and esotericism proof of this thirst for all things divine?

However, some people would like to adapt this divinity to their own needs. History tells us that sometimes, there have been attempts to use the divine for political or other purposes. Today the crowd went looking for Jesus. Why? It is the question that Jesus asks when he says: «Truly, I say to you, you look for me, not because you have seen through the signs, but because you ate bread and were satisfied» (Jn 6:26). Jesus was not fooled. He knows that they were not able to read the signs for the multiplication of the loaves. He announced that what nourishes man is a spiritual food which gives us eternal life (cf. Jn 6:27). God is the one who gives us this food and he gives it to us through his Son. Anything that increases our faith in Him is the kind of food in which we should invest all our energies.

We understand why the Pope encourages us to work on a re-evangelization of our world, which often does not come to God for the good reasons. The Fathers of the Vatican Council II, in the constitution "Gaudium et Spes" ("The Church in the Modern World") remind us that: «The Church truly knows that only God, Whom she serves, meets the deepest longings of the human heart, which is never fully satisfied by what this world has to offer». And why do we continue to follow Jesus? What does the church bring to us? We must remember what Vatican II tells us! Are we convinced that the well-being this nourishment provides can be given to the world?

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