MEETING JESUS THROUGH THE SIGN
Meditation for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
(Ex 16:2-4, 12-15; Eph 4:17, 20-24; Jn 6:24-35)
After Jesus fed the five thousand, the crowd gathered to make him their ‘bread king’, but he fled from them! In today’s Gospel, the people found in at Capernaum, but He said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of loaves.” Now, think about how much selfish desire pushes us to blind pursuits! The excitement of the free tasty bread that satisfied their hunger made them take the pains to look for Jesus. Human desire is not only insatiable, but it often clings to irrelevant things and exaggerates their importance while pursuing them with the utmost vigor. We can even claim to be working for God though we are motivated by our self-interest.
As the Mana in the desert became a sign through which the hunger of the Assembly of Israel became a hunger for God who saved them and fed them, so Jesus expected the people to perceive the sign of the multiplication of the loaves as pointing to Him. But they saw through the miracle an opportunity to pursue their self-satisfaction. They failed to understand because they were looking for the sign, not where the sign was pointing; they were looking for the bread, not the giver of bread! Those who look for miracles are easily deceived, but those who look for the God of miracles find Him and receive miracles in their lives.
Therefore, St Paul urges us in the second reading not to follow the futility of our minds as unbelievers in Christ do. The human mind can perceive several needs and hunger, but we are not to follow them as the sole end of our journey, allowing our immediate needs to define us and our way of life! St Paul says this is an old way of thinking, which we must put off, for human desires are full of corrupt and deceitful lusts. “Be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new man, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” If you follow your mind, the Eucharist will appear only as bread and wine. But Christ’s faithful see through the sign to receive Jesus. So Jesus says, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.” Amen.
Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Sunday August 1st, 2021.