Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
In today’s gospel, Jesus feeds thousands of people and walks on the water. At this point people are losing their minds over Him. They want to hear Him speak more, to see Him perform more miracles, and to just get close to Him.
But Jesus knows their hearts all too well. He knows that the people are clamoring to see Him because they want to experience more amazing and miraculous signs and wonders. Not because they truly love Him.
He says to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life...”
Has the Lord ever revealed Himself to you through “signs?” Maybe you’ve experienced His love at a youth conference or retreat, or felt His presence at your parish’s youth group or even in personal prayer. These are commonly known as “consolations” in the spiritual life. But it’s easy to get attached to these consolations the Lord gives us. We will often seek His consolations rather than seeking the Lord Himself. Because they feel good. They make us happy, hopeful, peaceful, and excited.
But our love is imperfect when we pursue the Lord’s consolations, rather than pursuing the Lord Himself.
It’s like when I was younger and my dad would ask me to do some sort of chore around the house. Sometimes I would reply, “What are you going to give me if I do it?” (Classic spoiled only-child response.) To which my dad would simply laugh and reply, “You wanna eat tonight?”
I wasn’t willing to do the chore out of love for my dad or out of a sense of responsibility for my family, but only if I got a reward out of it. The crowd in today’s gospel was chasing after Jesus because they wanted more miracles, not because they loved Him. And we often fall into the same trap of chasing intense emotional experiences of God, rather than striving to love Him for who He is, and not for how He can make us feel.
These consolations aren’t bad, and in fact they can really help strengthen our faith at times, especially when we’re new to following Christ. But consolations are not meant to sustain us in our faith. So our Lord speaks to you in this gospel passage today. Consolations are great, but Jesus tells us that these are the “food that perishes.” So don’t chase after the “signs” and consolations Jesus gives you.
Accept consolations as gifts from God, but don’t stop there. Let those consolations encourage and strengthen you to deepen and purify your love for Him. Don’t settle for the food that perishes. Eat the Bread of Life and be filled with the food that endures for eternal life.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
Where have you encountered Jesus? What was that experience like?
When do you bargain with Jesus and ask for something in return for doing His will?
How can you chase Jesus?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"I will chase you Jesus."
"Lord, I need you."
"Be with me Jesus."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Commit to praying a morning offering every day for at least a week. You can simply say, "Lord, I give you my day" or you can pray this one or one of the many other versions. In one week reflect on how it has impacted your life.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Dan Wolff, husband, father and spreadsheet extraordinare in Crystal Lake, IL.
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