From the desk of Ms. Kathleen Cook, Director of Religious Education
Theme: Jesus is the living sign!
Summary: Belief is at the very heart of Saint John’s Gospel. The significance of believing for Saint John is evident in the fact that he uses the term nearly one-hundred times and always as a verb—an action. For Saint John, truly seeing the sign with the eyes and the heart is crucial to belief. Jesus calls the people who have been fed physically by the loaves and fishes to believe that he is truly the One sent from God, but the crowds still call for a sign. This action on the part of the crowd clearly indicates that they have failed to see the true meaning of Jesus’ providing food for them. Belief is something that takes work: if one does not attend to nurturing their beliefs, they can easily be overshadowed by the physical needs in life.
Scripture: Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35
Today’s Scripture is about signs of a different kind. It is a story about some people who were looking for a sign that would prove to them that Jesus had been sent from God. Do you remember the story about Jesus feeding five thousand people with just five loaves of bread and two fish? As you might imagine, that made Jesus very popular with the people, so when the crowd realized that Jesus and his disciples had left, they went looking for him. They found him way over on the other side of the lake. When they found him, they asked him, “Teacher, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered them, “You came looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you. You shouldn’t be so concerned about things like food. Instead, you should be seeking the eternal life that I can give you.”
The people wanted proof. “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? After all, Moses gave our ancestors bread from heaven to eat when they were in the wilderness. Can you do that?”
Jesus answered them, “The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“Give us that bread! Give it to us every day,” the people said.
Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
Some people today are still asking for some special sign that will prove that Jesus was sent from God. God has given us all the signs we need right here in Scripture. All God wants is for us to believe in the One He sent.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for your Son, the Bread of Life. We don’t need a sign, we believe in your Holy Word. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Reflect: If a word or phrase from the Gospel captures your heart, sit quietly for several minutes, repeating it to yourself and asking God to show you how it applies to your life. Or reflect and possibly journal on the following question: What could you do to make Mass more meaningful or more relevant to your life?
Suggested book that compliments today’s Gospel:
The Curious Garden
Written by Peter Brown
Family Discussion: In today’s Gospel, the crowd asks Jesus for a sign so that they can believe that he has come from God. This is a curious request, because Jesus has just fed more than 5000 people with just five barley loaves and two fish. How quickly they seem to have forgotten the wonderful thing that Jesus has done for them. Or, maybe they never recognized the miracle in the first place. Sometimes we don’t recognize the wonderful things that God has done for us. And, sometimes, we simply forget and ask for further evidence of his love and care. We pray that God will remove our blindness so that we can receive with thanks and praise all the wonderful things that God accomplishes in our lives.
Together as a family, name the wonderful gifts that God has given you and some of the remarkable deeds that God has accomplished in our world. Observe that it is important to stop to count our blessings because we can easily miss recognizing all of the wonderful things that God does for us. Read together today’s Gospel, John 6:24–35. Ask: Why are the people seeking out Jesus? (because he has fed them) What do they want from Jesus? (a sign that he has come from God) What does Jesus tell them? (He says that he will give them something greater and more important than the bread that fed their physical hungers; he will give them bread that will give them eternal life.) Recall that we have this gift from Jesus in the Eucharist. Pray together, thanking God for all that he has given to us, especially for the gift of eternal life and the Eucharist. Pray together the Magnificat.