“DO NOT LABOUR FOR FOOD WHICH PERISHES, BUT FOR FOOD WHICH ENDURES TO ETERNAL LIFE” (John 6:27)

⏰EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B)

📕Exod 16:2-4, 12-15; Ps 78:3 and 4bc, 23-24, 25 and 54 (R.v.24b); Eph 4:17, 20-24; John 6:24-35

The miracles of Jesus in the Gospel of John are called signs. The reason is because the miracles ought not to be ends in themselves but means to an end. The end is the belief in God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent (John 6:29, 17:3). Like sign posts that direct one to a place, miracles ought to direct us to that belief in God.

Unfortunately, the people in the Gospel of today believed in the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, which we discussed last Sunday, as an end in itself. Hence, they looked for Jesus so that he may give them more of such bread. Jesus seized the opportunity to correct and inform us that our focus should be on the things that are in heaven and not on perishable things of the world.

We can begin to consider the First Reading from this point. God was leading the people of Israel away from slavery in Egypt into freedom in the Promised Land. But the desert offered them an unbearable trial, and instead of being determined and remaining focused unto the Promised Land, they preferred to go back to slavery in Egypt because of the availability of bread and meat there (cf. Exod 16:2-3).

We too, sometimes, behave like the Israelites when we play down our morality and spirituality because of what we might gain or lose:

❌Some of us still hold on to our fetish cultures and acts because of pieces of meat and little coins that come to us in the form of obeisance.

❌Just for the sake of promotion, job opportunities, contracts, etc., many of us engage in bribery, sexual immoralities and so on.

❌For fear of being ostracized, many of us choose to swear to idols and engage in other fetish things that are against our faith.

Even in that condition, God still proves faithful and ever caring. That was the purpose of the manna which God fed them with in the desert. He showed them, as he still shows us today, that he is the possibility of all impossibilities, who can give hope in hopelessness.

Neither the people with Moses (cf. Exod 16:15) nor the ones with Jesus (cf. John 6:34) understood the meaning of that bread. Hence, Jesus declared to them, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35).

Whoever eats of this bread is transformed into a new creation that shall never hunger nor thirst. That bread is, first of all, the Word of God (cf. John 1:1) with which Jesus, the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) feeds his flock (Mark 6:34).

St. Paul encourages those of us who have been fed with this bread and transformed by it not to go back to our old ways of life. We must be focused unto the Promised Land instead of thinking of the perishable things that Egypt offers.

May God help us to be steadfast and seek after things that endures to eternal life. And may we not lose our faith along the way and so miss that crown of righteousness which the Lord shall give in the end. Amen.

Peace be with you.

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