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)
What is it that you long for?
Some passages in the Gospel like this one today present a really awesome, mysterious, and challenging version of who Jesus was. I have to imagine that Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God who became man, had to be one of the most complex people who ever lived. You and I have our faults and our flaws, our tendencies and our imperfections, as well as our strengths. I am positive that Jesus, being like us in all things but sin, had a personality and therefore traits that identified that personality, but without sin and the faults that flow from our tendency to sin He also probably was a great mix of many different personality traits which would show at different times.
In today's Gospel, Jesus gives an insight into how well He could read and interpret the thoughts and desires of the human mind in a way that He could speak into the lives of the people with whom He was speaking. In this way, Jesus was probably incredibly intense to be around at times, knowing that He could speak into the depths of your heart and truly identify what you were feeling. In today's story, Jesus identifies something about the crowds: they are coming to Him not for who He is, but for what He gives.
Just before this Gospel, Jesus has multiplied the fish and the loaves. Now, as we pick up in this narrative, Jesus has made His way to the other side without the crowds, who promptly chase Him down. Jesus, in response to the people's question, speaks into their hearts, knowing that they are coming to Him simply because they're hungry. After all, if you found someone who could multiply food and then you were hungry, wouldn't you go back to that person?
Place yourself in the people in the crowds today as you pray. Imagine the look of Jesus, seeing you coming to Him; what is it that He knows your heart is seeking? Is your heart seeking Him, or is it something else you are seeking?
So often we today fall into the same trap of the crowds in the Gospel: we go to God not because we love Him and want to give Him our lives but because we want something on this earth to change or be given to us and we want Him to do it. It's true that He can, but first and foremost His call to our lives is not a call to be given what we want here and now; it's a call to follow Him closely enough to be conformed to Him for eternity.
As this Easter season continues, the challenge to you and I remains the same as the challenge to these people: do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food of 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.
Do I go to Jesus for who He is or for what He gives me?
Do I still run to Jesus when He doesn't 'give me what I want'?
Is my heart seeking Jesus, or something else?
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.
"You have the words of everlasting life."
"You feed my soul."
"I love you more than anything."
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?
Take a look at all of the things that capture your attention today, and ask "how does this lead me to eternal life?" Make an actual list. Look at each item and evaluate whether it's an activity or show you should continue to do if you are seeking the Lord.
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"Today's prayer was prepared by Jason Theobald, Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntley, IL.
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