Year B, The Eighteenth Sunday Ordinary

Work for the Food that Endures to Eternal Life

August 6, 2000


Ronald D. Curley

TEXT: The Holy Gospel According to Saint John 6:24-35

24 So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Caperna-um, seeking Jesus.

Many people seek Jesus.

He is the Person we are all looking for in life. We cannot find him among the people of the world, those who follow the world's views, because he is not there. He does not dwell in worldly places where the rich and the powerful have their seats. He dwells with the "little ones" who humble themselves to seek God alone.

Yes, it is Jesus who dwells with the little ones, the poor of the land, those who are marginalized and powerless. That is where Jesus dwells. We is with the apostles who left all to follow him. There with his Mother, they follow Jesus.

In the Gospel reading, today, there are people spoken of -- these are the people who have tasted of the Bread from Heaven who suddenly realize Jesus has departed with his apostles, so they immediately look for him expeditiously... for they must have Jesus... they must see him and listen to him...

Like so many people have done, they get into whatever "boat" they might find and seek Jesus, because neither Jesus nor his disciples where "there."

(A personal note -- It seems that I was such a one when I was a separated brother... I too sought to know Jesus through his disciples, the apostles. My journey Home seemed a long one... taking me close to 48 years... but, we came Home and many return in their "boats," seeking Jesus and his apostles.)

We live is challenging times as Catholics.

Our challenge is to live for God alone as witnesses of the Truth that is found in the Holy Scriptures and Magesterium of the Church, the "pillar and ground of truth."

So, these who searched for Jesus, also little ones who respond to the calling of God upon their lives, come to Jesus from their small boats. They finally found him with his apostles.

They seek earnestly.

25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?"

This is often the question - "Rabbi when did you come here?" That question may come often from our not keeping track of where Jesus is going instead of where we are going. Tragically, often we, instead of following him with carefulness, follow our own devices and lose sight of Jesus.

What do I mean by "carefulness?"

It means making Christ our Focus!

It means watching where Jesus is going rather than focusing upon where WE are going...


26 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.

Here is the true Focus...

The "loaves" provide for us a lofty meaning. For it is in this Bread that we find our Life and sustenance. Without this Bread, these "loaves" of Jesus, we do not find our fulfillment.

WE NEED Jesus, our Bread from Heaven!

Let us hear this proclamation today fully as we too seek to know him.

27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal"

What profound words we hear from Jesus. This "food" we receive from the Son of man. This is "the food which endures to eternal life." The Son of man, beloved, gives it.

How clearly this presents for us the Eucharist!

Then, they ask...

28 Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?"

29 Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."

30 So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform?

31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"

These people who follow Jesus are much more in tune with Jesus than many theologians of the world. They understand that this has all to do with something close to the meaning of Moses and the manna of the wilderness.

This has all to do with our Bread from Heaven, Jesus

There in the Old Testament Moses gave the children of Israel manna ("what is it?") from heaven. It was there for them in the mornings. They ate what they needed. They were filled. This "manna" spoke of the "manna" that would come in the fullness of time, our Bread of Life... Jesus.

Today, we are also in a wilderness, the wilderness of this world. Now, we must have our manna in the morning as well. We must start our days with Jesus, our Bread from Heaven. When we cannot do so, we are starved for strength. In some way we must have Jesus daily, whether in spiritual communion or actually partaking of Holy Eucharist.

Our strength comes from God alone.

32 Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.

33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world."

It is the Happy day for you and I within the Church as we receive this Bread from Heaven, this True Bread - "For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world."

In Luke's Gospel, chapter 24 we read of the story of the two on the road to Emmaus. Jesus comes to their house with them... he breaks and blesses the bread... then he disappears out of their sight and their eyes are opened to know that it was Jesus.

Now, beloved, the Bread remains when it is broken and consecrated and we have the Bread for adoration and to eat, because he commands us to do so in remembrance of him.

Let us partake of Jesus daily... for he is with us even unto the end of the age, never leaving us nor forsaking us in the hardest trials of the wilderness! Praise be to God!

34 They said to him, "Lord, give us this bread always."

Let this become and remain our petition to God always. This is our battle cry in the wilderness. This is the means to our victory, Christus Victor! "Lord, give us this bread always."

Thus, it is the Voice of God alone who responds to our cry for help... we, who are these earthen vessels that contain the Treasure, who is Jesus, the Bread of Life, and the Bread from Heaven.

35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.


"O saving Victim, opening wide

The gate of heaven to man below,

Our foes press on from every side,

Thine aid supply, Thy strength bestow

(Roman Breviary, Feast of Corpus Christi)


Grace and peace through Christ our Bread from Heaven.

Deus et Sanctissima.

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