The people who had been miraculously fed by Jesus sought to make him their king. He slipped away from them, and withdrew to pray on the mountain alone. In the evening the disciples went to Capernaum and Jesus caught up to them as he walked on the sea. The following day the people tracked down Jesus and the disciples at Capernaum and asked Jesus what they were to do to accomplish the work of God.
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent” (cf: Jn 6:27-29).
The response of Jesus may not appear to fit the request. But to believe is not just a passive activity. Belief is to be followed by action. If we say that we believe in Jesus, the one God sent, do we pray with him, do we worship him independently and in communion with fellow believers, do we sing songs of praise, do we serve him through giving of ourselves to one another by practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy? When we experience set backs, interruptions, conflict, or outright trials and tribulations, do we turn to cursing and yelling or to Jesus for guidance and direction? Do we turn within ourselves and cut ourselves off from others? Do we surround ourselves only with those of like mind, color, political and religious views? Do we embrace ourselves and engage in the richness of the uniqueness and diversity of God’s people? Where are we spending our time, talent, and treasure?
By engaging in an honest assessment of the questions above, we can better answer the most important question of our faith, “Do we really believe in Jesus the Christ, the one God sent?” Admitting to ourselves where we really are in our relationship with Jesus is good to do. If you are spending time reading these reflections, then most likely you are doing at least some of the above. May we thank God for helping us to develop healthy habits of holiness in those areas. For those areas we fall short, may we ask for forgiveness and help to do better today.
If we believe that Jesus is the one who God sent, then we must believe that Jesus is who he said he is, the Son of the living God. Jesus invites us each day to deepen our relationship with him and each other, because Christianity is not a solo endeavor. May we say yes to his invitation, commit to and schedule worship with his community of believers once a week; set up a daily place and time to pray each day to be still with God; spend time each day reading the Bible; and make an effort to give of ourselves to another in small ways with great love each day. These simple practices can have a profound, transformative affect in our lives, for they will help us to grow deeper in our relationship with Jesus and one another. This is what we have been created for!
Painting from a cemetery in an imperial villa that belonged to Constantine and is dated to the 4th century. Accessed: https://churchpop.com/2015/03/09/6-of-the-oldest-images-of-jesus/
Link for the Mass readings for Sunday, August 5, 2018: