"Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves." John 6:26.
In today’s gospel, we meet Jesus the day after he performed the miracle of the loaves. When the crowds realize Jesus has left, they impatiently begin to look for him. In fact, the group seems rather desperate to find Jesus-they look near the shore, they look on the docks. They go so far as to get in boats and begin a full blown search. Let’s remember, these are the same people who just ate their fill after Jesus took just a scarce amount of loaves and fishes and fed the masses. It’s not surprising they would be curious to seek Jesus out, but, the question is, to what end?
And what happens when these folks locate our Lord? When the anxious group finally finds Jesus, he is not exactly thrilled. He is blunt about questioning their motives. This mob seems to be looking for more bread, not for the man who provided it. They look for more miracles, not for the God behind those miracles. In other words, they are interested only in what Jesus can do for them, what he can provide them with. And our Lord calls them on it. Maybe we shouldn’t just seek out our Lord when we are hungry for something. Maybe we should go to him even when our bellies our full. Our hunger should be for the food that feeds the soul.
This is what strikes me most about this passage-here we are thousands of years later, and how many of us are still on a rather frantic search for Jesus? We’ve sadly seen people barricaded on communes, guns at the ready, who proclaim to have found Jesus. How many of us know Catholics who have left the Church for one of the many non-denominational Christian churches that have proliferated in recent years? How many reading this right now have waned in our attendance at Mass because we weren’t hearing what we wanted to hear? We seem to have run off in a million different directions all with the same apparent goal-to find Jesus. But are we truly looking for eternal salvation, or just a quick fix? We want Jesus’ comfort, his reassurance, his healing, his strength, his nourishment. . All these things, we believe, will bring us peace. But all these things are momentary.
Let us ask ourselves what our search for Jesus means for us in our daily lives. When asked what we must do to accomplish the works of God, Jesus replies, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." This is the true search-the search for eternal life through belief in and service to our Lord, Jesus the Christ.
Marlo Serritella is on staff at the Holy Cross Province Development Office in Chicago.