sexta-feira, 6 de fevereiro de 2015


Do not work for food that spoils,
but for food that endures to eternal life

John 6:27a (read 6.24-35) - NIV

Life is a pursuit. Everyone is searching for something. At birth, our first quest is to fill our lungs with air. Our second is to satisfy hunger, suckling at our mother’s breast. We also find the milk of love and affection in our mother's arms as we slept calmly. We continue our search for sustenance and security in love. The pursuit does not end as long as we live.

The primitive pursuit for food and affection is simple, but as time passes our life becomes more complex. Our world grows with us. New dimensions open. Responsibility is imposed upon us in the form of internal and external requirements. Insecurity comes in the form of the possibility of failure and of physical danger. Relationships become more complex. It is easy to lose sight of our scale of values and priorities. Life easily becomes just a series of reactions to immediate situations instead of a long-term dream. Survival takes precedence over quality of life.

But the search continues, sometimes confusing and can lead to selfishness, exaggerated ambition, social indifference, corruption and violence. With the absence of the spiritual dimension, people become "greedy" for the material but are never satisfied and always wanting more.

The criticism that Jesus made of the crowd was that people were looking only for the next meal, bread for the body, and forgetting food for the spirit! Jesus never despised "daily bread". He put it as legitimate prayer request along with forgiveness, which is the spiritual bread. Without forgiveness, the daily bread can become "poison", not nourishment.

We do not always seek the right things. It is well that God does not grant all of our requests. A good way for God to punish mankind would be to give everything that is requested. That would be sure disaster.

Some people in the crowd, even while striving to satisfy physical hunger, also found bread for the spirit. The New Testament is full of such examples. The Samaritan woman went to the well to fetch water to quench physical thirst but also found the “water of life”. The demon-possessed man at Gadarenes saw Jesus as a threat but was freed from domination by evil spirits by him. The cripple, who sought healing in the miraculous Bethesda tank, instead found healing in Jesus. A crippled beggar at the entrance of the temple seeking only alms found the restoration of his legs. Saul, who traveled to persecute the followers of Jesus in Damascus, met Jesus himself on the way.

The serendipity miracle is one that comes when we are looking for something else. The Gospel message is that God's love comes to us even when we seek other things. The crowd was seeking bread made out of wheat flour for their bodies, but Jesus offered them bread for the spirit as well.

The mother holding the baby to her breast to provide milk for the body also gives food for the spirit in the form of love and affection. We need both. Life is complete when the search for wheat bread brings us to the bread of the spirit. It is the miracle of serendipity.


John 6:24-35 – New International Version (NIV)

Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.

Jesus the Bread of Life

When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’[a]”

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

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