“I Am the Bread of Life”
“On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but that His disciples had gone away alone. Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him God the Father has set His seal.” Then they said to Him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” (John 6:22-29)
“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6:29).
There was a young priest from Pennsylvania named Father Walter Ciszek. He was eager to do God’s work as a missionary in the Soviet Union. But things didn’t go the way he anticipated. Soon after he entered Russia, he was falsely accused of being a spy and spent years in captivity, first in the infamous Lubyanka prison, and then in various Siberian labor camps.
One day, exhausted by the harsh interrogations, Father Ciszek came to the end of himself: “I lost all sense of hope. I saw only my weakness.”
Desperate, he asked the Lord to help him. As he prayed, he began to see that doing God’s work didn’t always mean performing heroic deeds as he had once thought …..
Pondering the example of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, he saw that the “work” of God was to cooperate with his grace every day, no matter what the situation may be ….
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that the “work of God is to believe in Him, “the One” the Father sent (John 6:29).
Now, of course we believe in Jesus, so there must be more here. And there is! Think back on the difficult moments in your life – perhaps an illness, or a financial setback. Maybe you saw the need to exercise your faith in a new way. That’s where the “work” comes in. When you face a challenge, it can take some effort to figure out how to cooperate with God’s grace in that situation …..
In fact, the “work” of believing is not limited to times of crisis. Every day God gives us numerous opportunities to apply our faith to whatever situations we find ourselves in. Even mundane tasks can become gifts from God if we bring them to Him and talk about them with Him. God loves these casual conversations! He uses them to teach us, to encourage us, and to build up our faith ….
This is what Father Ciszek learned. He came to see God in each person he met and treated them accordingly. He came to see each painful and grueling task before him as a way to say yes to God. You can do the same!
Lord, show me how each situation I encounter is a way to do the ‘work’ of believing in you. Amen …..
Blessings to you ….