Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter
(Acts 7:51-8:1a; John 6:30-35)
According to one journalist a ferocious debate is taking place about food. The topic is how to assure that everyone eats when the world’s population rises to ten billion. The journalist calls the two sides of the debate “wizards” and “prophets.” Wizards predict that technological manipulation of present crops will be able to feed such great numbers. Prophets believe that people will have to change eating habits if everyone is to have enough to eat. They call for eating less meat and more grains and vegetables. Jesus may be seen as weighing in on the issue in today’s gospel.
The people want Jesus to perform a miracle. Knowing that he has just fed over 5,000, they want him to give another such sign. But they are missing the point of Jesus’ feeding. More than bread, they need to trust in Jesus’ word if they are to grow in life. By following his teachings, they will come to possess even eternal life. Thus Jesus shows himself in a sense to be both a wizard and a prophet. As a prophet, he teaches people to abandon old ways of jealousy and rivalry. As a wizard, he tells them of a radical way to love one another.
Jesus’ word has been embodied in the Eucharist. When we take his body and blood, we commit ourselves to his ways. The food itself has enormous value. It provides us the grace to let go of hard feelings so that we might take care of one another. In this way we follow Jesus to eternal life.