Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Food Which Endures

Today's Gospel reading for the Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time is the passage that contains the title of this blog (my title comes from the Revised Standard Version rather than the New American Bible):

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
“Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered them and said,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
you are looking for me not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”
So they said to him,
“What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
So they said to him,
“What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?
What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:
He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
So Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.”

So they said to him,
“Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them,
“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” (John 6:24-35)

Our days are so caught up in working for the food that perishes, in making a living or making dinner. These are not unimportant things. We need food to maintain the health of our bodies, and we should be very concerned for the hungry. We need to support our families and do the things necessary to take care of them. But we need to remember the example of Martha and Mary. When it comes to daily service versus religious devotion, we don’t neglect the one for the other. There is a time for one, and a time for the other. We can even integrate the two. But, as St. Benedict reminds us, “Let us do now that which will profit us for all eternity.”

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