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Eternal perspective

– Monday of the 3rd Week of Easter –

“Do not work for food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life” [John 6:27]

Every desire that we experience has a corresponding object. Thirst is the desire for drink, hunger is the desire for food, tiredness is the desire for sleep and so forth. These three examples are all temporal and immediate. If you’re hungry and you eat, you will no longer be hungry. But if you wait a few hours or maybe a day, you’ll be hungry again. So though we can satisfy these desires in the short term, they will reoccur and we’ll need to satisfy them again. In today’s gospel, Jesus juxtaposes these temporal desires with an eternal desire. He has just fed the crowd the previous day and some of the same crowd had crossed to Capernaum to find Jesus. When they find him, Jesus quickly points out that they have come to him for more food. He had satisfied their temporal desires yesterday and it appears they’re wanting him to do the same trick. It is here that we find the ‘punch line.’ Jesus says, “do not work for food that cannot last, but work for food that endures to eternal life.”

Jesus is on to something. Though the crowd’s temporal hunger might be their immediate concern, Jesus draws their attention to a far deeper human desire. Though our temporal desires can be satisfied with their respective object, there is something within the human spirit that is never entirely satisfied in this life. This is the desire not for something material that can be found and consumed or owned or experienced, but rather it’s a desire for the source of all that is good, true and beautiful. It’s a desire for the one who is perfect love. It’s a longing for the one who is perfect peace, who doesn’t merely do good things but is goodness itself. It’s a hunger for the one who meets us in our brokenness and unsatisfied desire and heals us and satisfies our heart’s deepest longings. It’s a desire for the one who is the bread of life and who is the food that endures to eternal life. His name – Jesus.

by Dcn Peter Pellicaan

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