Jesus begins his teaching on “the bread of life” with a statement which both propels the dialogue that follows and that challenges us today: “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.”
The many verses of this teaching wind their way through Jesus’ statements about being the “bread of life” and “eternal life.” In his dialogue with them, Jesus attempts to take the crowd progressively deeper into the mystery; some will follow, some will walk away. Perhaps it all goes back to that initial statement, which begs the question, “What are you looking for?”
In observing the miracle of the loaves, they failed to “see the sign,” that is, they failed to look deeply into the miracle and come to believe in the person of Jesus. They were searching for him, not to follow, not to be “fed” more deeply, but just to have more bread, just to see another miracle.
The days of the Easter season invite us to go deep into the mystery of Jesus, of his Eucharistic presence, of the demands of following him. But what are we looking for in these days of Easter? Perhaps our faith offers thin consolation in troubled times. Perhaps it begins to satisfy a deep hunger that we have come to recognize and want to follow no matter what the cost. What are we looking for, today?
Lord, Jesus, give us the courage to resist the superficial consolations of faith and to hunger deeply for you, no matter what the cost!
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