Sunday’s gospel has both good news and bad news for Jesus. The good news is that the 5,000 people he fed want more from him. The crowd follows him around the Sea of Galilee. The bad news is the people have missed the point of his teaching.
The crowds want another sign if they are to believe Jesus is from God, a miracle greater than the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. They fail to see that Jesus’ teaching, healing, loving presence is the sign of God among them. Sunday’s scripture readings challenge us today to recognize the signs God sets before us and reflect on what really satisfies our hungers.
Making friends gives us one of our most common experiences of hungering and yearning for more. When a relationship begins and two people start getting to know each other, they want to be with each other more and more. Each wants to discover who the other is, what he or she is about, what and who is important in the other’s life.
Other experiences, too, give us a taste of something that leaves us wanting to continue. A new book entices one to join a book club. A view out the window at a meeting leads one to buy hiking shoes on the way home. An encounter with a friend leads to help with a gardening project. A church bulletin posts the need for volunteers at the day drop in for homeless people. You go once, twice, and become regular. A few minutes in church leads to making time for quiet another day and another. First steps can lead to longer journeys.
Faith may become a hunger for deeper understanding and lead some people to join a prayer group or a scripture study. Often people fear groups that may ask them to share not just ideas, but our hearts. A group that listens to our hearts may become a circle of belonging.
A hunger for justice may challenge us to rally a group that pursues legislative action. A hunger that won’t be satisfied is the nudge of the Holy Spirit. What if God who most of the time lets me alone, suddenly starts asking what I am looking for?
- What recent experience have you had of God appearing or disappearing in your life?