for Sunday, July 26, 2015
He withdrew to the mountain alone! That is what the Gospel of John tells
us today. Jesus recognizes that the motivation of His followers is not
right. They still want an earthly king, someone who will give them all
they want. Jesus wants them to recognize how God really works in their
lives and to seek the will of God, not miracles and great works.
The first reading today, from the Second Book of Kings, gives us the
account of the Prophet Elisha feeding a large number of people with a
little food. This helps us understand that God is always at work, not only
in the time of Jesus and through Jesus, but always God is at work. Perhaps
too often we think of the miracles of Jesus as something new. Or we think
that the teachings of Jesus are all new. Instead, we are invited to
understand Jesus as the fulfillment of all that has gone before Him and of
all that will come after Him. Jesus is truly the center point of all of
history and needs to be the way in which we understand all that has been
and all that will be.
This center point is perhaps best expressed in the words of the second
reading today, from the Letter to the Ephesians: one Lord, one faith, one
baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in
all. This unity is always present in all of history. The challenge is
that our eyes and our ears and our hearts are often closed and do not see
the connections and the unity.
As we return to the passage from the Gospel of John which is our Gospel
today, we see this wonderful miracle, which John always considers a sign.
A sign is meant to point to something else and not to itself. The real
danger of miracles is that we can get caught by them, want them, long for
them - and not see them as pointing to the Kingdom of God, directing you and
me to live in the Kingdom. When we are hungry, we want real food and not a
sign! If we are sick and dying, we want a true miracle and not a sign
pointing us to the Kingdom.
Faith tells us, however, that signs are actually more important than the
miracle itself. Encountering the presence of the living God in this life
is more important than eating or recovering from serious illness. That
takes a lot of faith! On the other hand, if we think about it, what a
wonderful gift to meet the living God personally, rather than just to have
food or health! Sure, that takes faith! And we could be like some of the
saint who would say: I want it all!
So let us ask for all today. Let us ask for the food to feed our hunger
and for the miracles for our health and wellbeing. Let us ask most to know
the living God and His love for us.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: 2 Kings 4.42-44
Second Reading: Ephesians 4.1-6
Gospel: John 6.1-15
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: