Hunger for God
For many of us living in the United States the concept of true “hunger” does not have a personal, recognizable face. Rather it’s “over there”, off in the distance, perhaps across town. Oh we may be hungry, and that gut growl is easily remedied by a quick trip to the pantry or fridge, or perhaps the fast food or coffee shop that generally are within close range. And yet hunger is real for too many people of all ages and locations, with thousands of people dying daily throughout the world…from hunger.
Jesus worked many miracles to provide for those who were hungry. Today’s Gospel selection cites Jesus speaking of His life-giving presence: “I am the bread of life…I am the living bread that came down from heaven…whoever eats this bread will live forever.” The crowds came to him looking for food miraculously provided, and He today responds with a life-giving message that has nourished people of all ages and walks of life: His message of selfless love, proclaimed in word and deed, led Him to His Cross and grave – and to Resurrection and Life!
Like the Ethiopian eunuch of today’s selection from the Acts of the Apostles, we too seek life-giving “nourishment” from God’s Word to meet our hunger for meaning and direction in life. We may not have a person like Phillip who runs up to us, offers to journey with us and help us discern life’s meaning and the importance of Jesus risen from the dead… And yet these enlightening words of Jesus in this selection from John Chapter 6 are an Easter Gift to us that help form the heart of our faith in Jesus: belief in Him opens us to life eternal and a here-and-now joy that transforms all of life’s experiences!
Today’s Easter readings challenge us to get in touch with the deepest hungers of ourselves and our world — and then be open to God’s response in the life of a fellow life-traveler like Phillip, or the words of the Scriptures, and ultimately in the person of Jesus in the Eucharist. Jesus’ Life is as true and powerful today as for that early crowd of today’s Gospel: come to Him, listen to Him, believe in his Message of nourishing and transforming love, share in His Life, and then live forever!
Jesus’ miraculous life and love are real! In Him, hunger is truly satisfied. Alleluia!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is a member of the Passionist community in Chicago, Illinois.