I’m a Midwestern gal born and raised. Particularly in Detroit, there are several delicious sweet treats that have been a part of my food experience. A cold glass of Vernors pop. A bag of salty Better Made potato chips. Or my personal favorite, a bowl of Sanders Bumpy Cake ice cream with Sanders milk chocolate hot fudge.
But we know with all things in life, they pass away. It won’t last forever. I cannot take a bowl of ice cream with me to Heaven someday.
Today’s Gospel account takes place shortly after the Miracle of the Feeding of the 5,000. The crowds are looking for Jesus. When they find Him, Jesus tells them, “[Y]ou were looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate loaves and were filled.” Jesus implies the crowds are looking for Him because He gave them something that filled them. In this case it was physical loaves of bread.
But as a Eucharistic people, we know this is a foreshadow of the Holy Eucharist: Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
Jesus then tells them to not work for food that perishes, but rather, for the food that endures for eternal life.
There isn’t much lot this side of Heaven that will “endure for eternal life.” Food, clothes, money, cars, relationships, or followers on Twitter, we cannot take any of it with us. What is the food that will endure for eternal life?
Working for the food that endures for eternal life is about receiving a gift, about “believing in the One whom God has sent.” Jesus is THE gift par excellence sent from the Father.
Sisters, too often we try to have it both ways. We desperately want to be connected with Jesus but also want a steady diet of the things of this world. But we can’t work and live for the things of this world, for they won’t last. Instead, we must work to sustain our hearts and minds. Only Jesus can be the sustaining source of our identity and fulfillment. The One Who is bread broken and given for us will help us be bread that is broken and given for others.
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Today let’s pray for a renewed hunger to be in communion first with Jesus, not the world. Let us set our hearts and minds on the things that will prepare us for eternal life.
Patty Breen is a runner, youth minister ordinaire, and thinks old movies are the greatest thing since sliced bread. When not fundraising for World Youth Day, she is learning to find grace in all things. You can find out more about her here.