John 6:22-29 Reflection: The food that gives eternal life

A reading from the gospel according to John 6:22-29:

22 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.
23 Other boats came from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread when the Lord gave thanks.
24 When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
25 And when they found him across the sea they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
26 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.
27 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.”
28 So they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”

Reflection: Seeking God, not self

In the gospel reading above, we can understand that people were following Jesus because they believe Him as the Messiah. Yet their understanding of a Messiah was a worldly leader who can satisfy their worldly needs such as food and freedom from the Romans. Thus many of them were fixated with the healing and feeding miracles. Just as Moses gave them food from heaven, the people in Jesus’ time thought that as the Messiah, He will be there to feed them for free.

That is why when Jesus was out of their sight, the people sought Him in Capernaum. Yet Jesus could see their selfish motivation. They were seeking Jesus not for any other reason but to satisfy their physical needs. Jesus took this opportunity to teach them not to work for food that perishes but for the food that gives eternal life. He also told them that the work of God is to believe in Him, the one who was sent by God Himself.

In Jeremiah 29:11-13, God says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” In Matthew 6:33, Jesus tells us to “seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”.

Let us therefore seek God not just to satisfy our physical needs but to allow Him to be the Lord and King in our life. We seek Him in humility as our loving Father who sent His only Son to suffer and die that we may live. When we believe in Jesus and accept Him as the Son of God who is Light of the world and the true “Bread”, our life will never be the same again. We will have our priorities in life set essentially around loving God and our neighbor as well as ourselves. We will have learned that God alone will satisfy our physical as well as spiritual needs. In this way, we will begin to thirst and hunger for what is eternal rather than what is ephemeral.

Gospel Reading and Reflection
Gospel Reading and Reflection

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