Saturday, 1 August 2009

I am the bread of life (Jn 6:35)

This week we continue to read from the 6th chapter of St. John (Jn 6:24-35). Last week we read the begining of the chapter in which Jesus was feeding the five thousand. Afterwards the disciples get into the boat and start to go to the other side of the lake while "Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself" (Joh 6:15 RSV).

When Jesus was catching up with them walking on thew water "They were frightened, but he said to them, 'It is I; do not be afraid.'" (Joh 6:20 RSV) and eventually they end up miraculously at the other side as "immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going." (Joh 6:21 RSV)

These were just some snippets on what has happened so far in the chapter, and indeed it seems like it is a special chapter as I tried to point out last week. Now we continue, as we learn that "[the people] got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus" (Joh 6:24 RSV)

I first like to point our attention to Jesus himself and the disciples. As so often, when the crowds get exited by his miracles he gets away. Jesus is never searching for human credit, but instead seeks the solicitude of the mountains where He prays. I think it is just a small aspect I like to mention on the side, the fact that in following Jesus it is the solitude of being with him that we should be searching, as He was praying to the Father in lonely places, that is where we should find our joy: "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Mat 6:21 RSV). In our life as Christians sensible spiritual consolations are often far en between, often we have to do just with our faith.

Like the disciples, as "[they] started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them" (Joh 6:17 RSV). Jesus was not there, but they head on anyway even though they do not know where he is. Then in the stormy weather, as we so often experience in our lives, "they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat" and "they were frightened" (Joh 6:19 RSV)

We see that Jesus is actually near, very near to them, but they are so engrossed in the fight with the stormy sea that they do not recognize Him, but then he says "It is I; do not be afraid." (Joh 6:20 RSV) and again "immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going." (Joh 6:21 RSV)... I just wanted to put that down, for people who might feel that what they are doing seems to be out on the stormy sea without any sense of direction, but really trusting on Jesus and not being afraid is the answer... we sometimes have to keep rowing for a few miles, but then He helps us to "immediately" go where we need to go...

But back to the Gospel of this week. The people were seeking Jesus.
Earlier this week when we read the passage in which Jesus describes "the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field" (Mat 13:44 RSV) I wanted to write a quick note on the importance for us to be open to God, to search Him, something that maybe a lot of people nowadays do not really do... But we know that  when "you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul" "you will find him" (Deut 4:29 RSV).

So these people are searching for Him, but Jesus seems to doubt their motivations: "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves." (Joh 6:26 RSV). So why do we seek God, what are our motives. That is a good question to ask yourself.

Because it will not get our belly filled, and it will most of the time neither let us see miraculous signs. Most of the time it will be being on the stormy sea, Jesus seeming to be away... to be far off. So we should really ask ourself this question... As I was asked when I made my profession: "What do you seek?".

So rightly the crowd asks this of Jesus "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" (Joh 6:28 RSV)  and the "simple" answer is "that you believe in him whom [God] has sent." (Joh 6:29 RSV)

It is trust in Jesus, following Him. Only by finding and following Him will the endless yearning for the "something more" the "somthing that is missing" be satisfied. "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst." (Joh 6:35 RSV)

It is the Lord himself which we should seek, to belief in Him, and to follow Him, to be in communion in Him.  so that as we will read in the coming weeks "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him." (Joh 6:56 RSV) Jesus is calling us to Him, to abide with Him and to become one with Him... but is this what we are really seeking?

Again, I am still in the midst of the course, so these are just a few quick lines thrown together without much reflection and thought gone into them...


Em the luddite said...

You have me thinking... what SHOULD we be seeking? Are the crowds that follow him for bread very different from the sick who follow him for healing? If so, how; why is the latter better? If not, then is it also the same thing for us to follow him hoping for material wealth and hoping for healing?

Hmm... I'm not supposed to do this much thinking during Greek boot camp!

(Incidentally, you got a mention today over at my blog... feel free to let me know if I misinterpreted you anywhere!)

Bro. Luuk Dominiek Jansen OP said...

I don't think that there is a real SHOULD, as that kind of implies the lack of free will... everybody is on a different journey if that makes sense (so there is no once answer?).

Therefore I think it is important to think for ourself on what we are expecting? Are we expecting wealth, or only physical/mental healing. Is it only a quick fix we are seeking? This is what I might suggest as seeing in society, all kinds of means of instant satisfaction.

However, these fixes only work for a short while (if even) and still leave us empty. I think we need to look deep down in who we are and what we are to recognise that we are made for God, that God loves us, and that only this love can fill the emptiness in our hearts fully.

And it is given to us as a free gift, and we only have to accept it... but then again, what do we expect once we accept it? A happy sensation all the time, good fortune, wealth?

It is a journey into "the other", a journey into the unknown, and as such the the results we should expect are likewise... and this too we should accept and ponder, and only in time will we realise it.

God works in silence, in the quite of our hearts. God work slowly, and we have to be patient, with God and with ourselves!

Vere tv es Devs absconditvs (Isa45:15VUL)

Well, I don't think this is much help to any reader, but I guess I better go back to my texts as well!

Kay said...

I enjoyed this entry and feel it has given me some insight. It is so easy to worry about the future and if we will have enough to support us, at the same time wanting to serve God. But our treasure is God Himself. I know this but perhaps need to be reminded in a different way. Thanks very much.


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