Food that endures JOHN 6:24–35
When it is election time candidates are famous for making promises and offering all kinds of “bread’’ that they know we are hungry for and often we vote for the one who offers us the most, although we know that whatever they offer, even if they deliver, will last for merely a day or two. Few of us think of supporting the candidate who offers us moral and spiritual values for as far as we are concerned, ‘yuh cyah eat dat.’ In today’s gospel, however, Jesus is advising us against this popular kind of thinking with his teaching: Do not work for food that cannot last, but work for food that endures for life, the kind of food that the Son of Man is offering you…
When we are looking for a job or when parents are advising children on a choice of career the advice is often based on how much ‘bread’ you can make, and not on what satisfaction you will get from embarking on that career. We justify our choices by saying that, ‘’yuh cyah eat satisfaction.’’ Yet when we look around in life we see that the happiest and most fulfilled people are those who are satisfied and enjoy their profession, for it is so true that, ‘’Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’’ (Mt 4: 4)
Teachers know that if the children believe in them they follow what they are taught and do very well in their studies. When the teachers have faith in their children they are more enthusiastic in their teaching and the students are more fulfilled. The same goes for parents who have faith in their children and children who believe in their parents. Faith in one another is necessary for a fulfilling life.
This is what Jesus is telling us when he replies to the question: What are we to do if we are to do the works that God wants? His response is: This is working for God: you must believe in the one he has sent. When we truly believe in Jesus, the Son of God, then we are not only working for God but we are gaining for ourselves spiritual fulfilment in this life and the life to come.
When our parents, teachers and others tell us that, ‘honesty is the best policy’, and give us other good advice, if we have faith in them and do what they teach us we will notice that our life is much more fulfilling than if we do the opposite. It is true that we might see that those who do the opposite seem to be happy, but that happiness is just for a time. It is not as lasting as the happiness of an honest person.
Let us believe in the Son of God who left us with this teaching: I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst.
Lord, we thank you for those parents, teachers, priests, nuns and religious leaders who teach us how to work for you. They give us bread that comes from heaven.I ask forgiveness for the times that I deliberately refuse to believe in what you teach and prefer the bread that does not last.
Send us leaders who by their exemplary lives show that they believe in your word so that when we believe in them we get bread that comes down from heaven.
The Gospel Meditations for August are by Felix Edinborough, a retired secondary school teacher and a member of the Lectio Divina group ‘Homecomers’.