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 turn 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 whom 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.
What is helpful for us to grow closer to God and each other is, commit to and schedule worship in community at least once a week; set up a daily place and time to meditate and pray each day to be still with God; spend time each day reading the Bible, the lives of the saints, and other works that help us to grow; and make an effort to put what we have learned into practice as well as give of ourselves to another in small ways with great love each day. We can also ask God to show us a particular way he wants us to serve him.
These simple practices can have a profound, transformative effect in our lives, for it is through contemplation, action, and engaging with others that our relationship with Jesus and one another deepens. This is what we have been created for!
This photo was taken May 6, 2016. Today, Saturday, July 31, 2021, I was blessed to witness Pietro and Gabrielle’s marriage.