Petition: Lord, help me not to look for signs, but to rest in your love.
- What Have You Done for Me Lately? The crowd asks Jesus for a sign, and this is strange. Isn’t this the same crowd that he fed the day before with five loaves and two fish (cf. John 6:1-14)? Didn’t they say at the time, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” (John 6:14)? Didn’t Jesus have to escape from them since they wanted to make him king (cf. John 6:15)? Sometimes, I’m the same way. There is an abundance of things that Jesus has done for me. At the moment they happen, I receive them with joy. Perhaps I am grateful, but more often than not, I don’t give Jesus enough credit. And even if I do thank him, on the following day (sometimes even sooner), I seem to have forgotten. And I go on asking more favors. Maybe I have the attitude that he never does anything for me. How can I be so dense to not grasp all the signs of love that he shows me every day?
- The Crowd Is Condemned by the Very Psalm They Quote to Jesus: The crowd quotes Scripture to Jesus, trying to get him to multiply more loaves: “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” (Psalm 78:24) They are looking for their own material benefit and want him to do a miracle that will feed them every day, like the manna in the desert that fed their forefathers for forty years. Yet their own words condemn them. Psalm 78 is about the hard-heartedness of their forefathers in the desert in spite of the manna and other signs the Lord worked for them: “And they ate and were well filled, for he gave them what they craved…. In spite of all this they still sinned; they did not believe in his wonders” (Psalm 78:29, 32). Doesn’t Jesus deal with me at least as well as he did with the Israelites in the wilderness? Hasn’t he always been on hand to help me?
- Jesus Always Gives Us Better Than What We Ask For: They are asking for more ordinary bread. Jesus promises them something better – bread to feed the spirit. He starts by talking about ordinary things and then elevates the conversation to more spiritual things. We are well aware how much we need certain everyday things, like bread. Jesus is trying to help us see we need something to feed us spiritually just as much – if not more. The crowd ate yesterday and was satisfied yesterday. Today, they are hungry again, and come again to Jesus hoping to be given something like manna that will feed them every day so they won’t have to worry about ordinary hunger again. Jesus goes beyond that and speaks to them of a bread that is coming, a bread that will feed them spiritually so that they will never have to hunger spiritually again. He gives them something far better than what they ask for: the bread of his own body.
Resolution: I will find a way to visit Jesus in the Eucharist today. If it is really impossible, I will make a spiritual communion, asking Jesus to come into my heart even though I cannot receive him in this moment and asking him to increase my faith, hope and love in him.