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The Bread of Life
Gospel Reflection for April 24, 2023
“The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat, but only his disciples had left. Other boats came from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread when the Lord gave thanks. When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. And when they found him across the sea they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you get here?’ Jesus answered them and said, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.’ So they said to him, ‘What can we do to accomplish the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.’” (John 6:22-29 NABRE)
Have you ever pursued Jesus with intentions that were similar to the crowd’s intentions in today’s Gospel? They followed after the Lord and desired to find Him again once He had left them. Yet, Jesus knew their intentions. The crowd was not truly pursuing Jesus in their hearts, but rather, they were only seeking to fulfill the desires of their flesh.
Do you also get distracted by the things of this world as you journey to follow Jesus? Perhaps you truly desire to grow closer to Him, but your mind or heart are somewhere else, focused on other things.
Maybe we even find ourselves in prayer, asking the Lord for something we know is probably not according to His will. Like the crowd, we so often pursue Jesus hoping to receive what we want from Him, and not what He wants to give us.
But Jesus reminds us in today’s Gospel—don’t work towards or desire that which perishes, rather, work towards that which gives life! The things of this world and the desires of our flesh will never completely satisfy us. Only Jesus can do that.
So, when we hope to attain something from the Lord, may we sincerely analyze our intentions. Are we seeking to follow His life-giving will, or are we seeking to serve our flesh? We must not get caught up in the fleeting things of this world, but we must focus on and strive after that which is eternal and life-giving!
Jesus is the Bread of Life. May we pursue Him with our whole heart, and receive eternal life by receiving Jesus in the Eucharist.