– Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Easter –
“What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you?” [John 6:30]
It is a human inclination to want proof, especially when what we’re hearing is unbelievable or supernatural. In today’s gospel we find this same phenomenon – the crowd ask “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you?” In other words – we want proof! What’s extraordinary about this question is that this is the same crowd that a day before witnessed Jesus feeding the 5000 with five loaves and two fish! We find this same behaviour throughout scripture. In the Exodus, the Israelites grumble and worship a golden calf even though they have seen the ten plagues, the Red Sea parted, the provision of manna in the desert and the fire of God on Mt Sinai. What we find in scripture and indeed throughout the history of the Christian tradition is that no proof is ever enough for the one who does not wish to believe. Philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote that “in faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t.”
This leads us to the question – what is the basis of our faith? Is our Catholic faith contingent on God proving himself to us? Jesus does not give the crowd the proof they are looking for – he does not perform another miracle, but makes claims about himself and says ‘I am the bread of life!’ It’s no surprise that in the end, the crowd leaves. No more miracles, no more proof, no more entertainment – we’re going home. What is interesting is that it is the disciples who stay. They don’t need a sign. Why? They have a relationship. They know Jesus and they trust him. They are not following him to be entertained, they follow him because they love him, he loves them, and they have responded to his call.
So what is the basis of our faith? Do we need a sign or do we have a relationship? When Jesus says ‘I am the bread of life,’ do we believe him? In the Mass when the priest, in the person of Christ, raises the Host and says ‘this is my body’ do we believe him? These words of Jesus come alive to the one who has relationship with him.
by Dcn Peter Pellicaan