August 9, 2015 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause
August 9, 2015
Gospel: John 6:41-51
Fr. George Smiga
We presume that who Jesus is and what Jesus offers us is good. We are confident that the things Jesus gives us are valuable: wisdom, peace, eternal joy. So how can we explain that in today’s gospel when Jesus presents himself to the crowd, there is so much opposition? The people murmur against him. They claim that he only the son of Joseph. They are ready to reject whatever he says. How can we explain this determination to discount and reject what is so good and valuable?
I would suggest to you that the answer to this dilemma can be found in the image that Jesus uses in today’s gospel to describe himself. Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” Now, bread is a very good thing, but in order to appreciate the true value of bread, you must be hungry. People who are satisfied can discuss bread and critique bread. They can argue in favor of one type of bread over the other. But it is only those who are hungry who can truly understand why bread is good.
Today’s gospel is telling us that if we want to find what is valuable in life and attain it, we must do more than think about it and discuss it. We must hunger for it. Without such hunger it will be easy to miss the gifts that God gives.
Married couples must do more than wish for a successful marriage. They must hunger for a relationship that is mutual and life giving. It is only then that they will have the strength to do the hard work of communication, compromise, and forgiveness. If they do not hunger for unity and intimacy, marriage can easily devolve into a series of decisions based on self-interest. When someone hurts us or betrays us, we must do more than hope for healing. We must hunger for a means to rebuild the broken relationship. It is only then that we will be attentive enough to see the opportunities for reconciliation and to seize them. We must do more than desire a better world. We must hunger for ways to undercut the cycles of violence and poverty around us. It is only then that we will find the energy to engage in actions of justice and peace and to move the world closer to the place where it should be.
Jesus presents himself to us as the bread of life. That means that if we want to understand him and accept him, we must be hungry. So let us today recognize the things that we need, the things that we desire, the things that we dream of, and hunger for them. It is only through such hunger that we will know the truth of what Jesus says and who Jesus is. It is only through such hunger that we will be able to receive the Bread of Life.