Fr Bob writes: We have just come back from our mission trip to Peru. We brought with us many suitcases full of shoes, clothing, toys and toiletries to distribute amongst the very poor. However, we also brought with us the gospel of Christ, which could be summed up in these words from the gospel for this Sunday, in Jesus’ own words “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”
It is very easy to focus on the immediate needs of the poor people we were ministering to. They face a daily task of finding food for themselves, and their families, housing, clothing, etc. But a deeper need is to find a moral basis for their lives, so they do not surrender to a culture around them that would enslave them in drugs, crime and prostitution. The moral basis that we provide are the words of Jesus himself from this Sunday’s gospel: “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” Throughout our mission, we were encouraging the people we were ministering to, to fix their eyes on Jesus, as the one alone who could meet their immediate material, but also their deeper, spiritual, needs.
Our society is very much one which teaches us to focus on the immediate satisfaction of our physical, material needs. This is short-sighted morally and spiritually, because our deepest hunger lies in our need to find a reason to live. That is why many young people in our Western society, provided with every thing they could possibly hope for, in material terms, still end up taking their own lives, because they have not found a reason to believe, a reason to live.
Jesus offers himself to us this Sunday, as “the bread of life,” in other words, as the only one who can satisfy all our needs, physical and spiritual. “Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty,” He says. Are we ready to make our all-out commitment to Jesus?