Friday after Misericordias Domini
Scripture: St. John 6:30-40 (NKJV)
30 Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” 32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” 35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The crowd who followed Jesus had seen many signs. However, they demanded yet another sign. We need only stop and think for a moment how arrogant and ignorant these people were. They demand a sign and quote the scripture, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” One has to wonder about the crowd: Aren’t these the very people who were there yesterday when they “ate of the loaves and were filled?” So it is with unbelief.
Unbelief continues to make demands of God in order to believe but is never satisfied with anything that God has done. Unbelief wishes to put the blame on God, “If only God would (fill in the blank), then I would believe.” This is just another way of saying that since God doesn’t do what I want, He’s the problem. The crowd that followed Jesus demanded a sign. They wanted to see a work of God. So, Jesus shows them, “I am the bread of life.” He directs them to Himself and yet they do not believe.
This encounter between Jesus and the crowd serves as an example for us in the Church today. The Church can do works of charity by feeding, clothing, and caring for people. But such charity will never satisfy unbelief. We are God’s hands in this world and just as the crowd would later abandon Jesus, we, too, will find that many of those whom we help will simply walk away. So be it. The Church must never forget that its real work is always to direct people to Jesus. The Church must understand that is all it can do and trust the Holy Spirit will work where and when He pleases to create faith. “Jesus, Savior, come to me; let me ever be with Thee.” Amen.