So when the crowd saw
that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the
boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. When they found him on the other
side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?"
Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not
because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work
for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has
set his seal." Then they said to him, "What must we do to perform the
works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that
you believe in him whom he has sent." So they said to him, "What sign
are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work
are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is
written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" Then Jesus said to
them, "Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread
from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For
the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the
world." They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always."
Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will
never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
There are basically two kinds of diets: the ones
that work and the ones that don’t. Diets that don’t work are often called fad
diets. They promise fast results with little effort. A plague of them show up
every spring promising to make you a slim sensation by summer. Results, if any,
are almost always temporary and pretty soon you’re right back where you started
Diets that work promise gradual results with
considerable commitment over a lifetime. Their premise is not to lose anything,
but to gain good nutrition based on an acceptance of healthy choices. Their
objective is not to transform chubby couch potatoes into skinny coach potatoes.
The objective is to transform unhealthy bodies into healthy ones. And to get
there, you’ve got to put all that good nutrition to work if you want to keep
it. That means having the discipline to faithfully follow up with an appropriately
rigorous program of exercise.
You could say that in this week’s gospel, Christ is
promoting “The Jesus Diet.” It’s all about healthy choices. It’s a lifetime
commitment that guarantees results. And it comes with a personal trainer. Jesus
is with us every step of the way. Feeding us; leading us; getting us in shape
In this week’s gospel, it’s the day after the
multiplying of the loaves and fishes. And the crowd doesn’t want the party to
end. After some probing, they put in their order: Give us a sign to believe in
you. How about a regular diet of manna raining from heaven? Jesus seizes on
their opening to explain who he is and why he’s here: I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry.
From that day to this, Jesus is the real breakfast
of champions. We are not meant to just listen to the word of God, we are meant
to consume it. We are meant to live it. We are not just to call ourselves
Christians, we are meant to become Christians; nourished and strengthened body
and soul, fully committed, fully absorbed in the love of Christ.
God did not send us Jesus, The Bread of Life, to
work wonders, to preach and to teach, to die for our sins, all so that we could
become a race of spiritual coach-potatoes. Our nourishment has a purpose. We
are here to do God’s work in the world. We are here to share the Bread of Life
with a world that is stuffed with sin and starving for love. It’s a tall order.
But we have a personal trainer to show us the way. Stay close to Jesus. He’ll
help you make healthy choices. Keep pace with him in prayer and in scripture.
Work out with the home team in our ministries of worship, outreach and
fellowship. Get on the Jesus Diet. It’s not about losing; it’s all about