Homework: 2016 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As far as I know, we people enjoy eating good earthly food, day after day. If, at every Sunday Mass, we served huge amounts of free delicious food, like steak and wine, our Church would not accommodate the number of people that would turn up. If I would be able to reproduce the food I have eaten since I was born, I think it would create a mountain. But how much of that counts for my eternal life? There are people who wander from Church to Church looking for entertainment; just to entertain their minds. But how much of that helps them to go to heaven?
In 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spent about 10% of its total budget on food. The average food cost for a U.S. household was $7,203. Those earning more than $70,000 per year spend nearly three times as much on food compared to the lowest earning families with incomes under $20,000. If you add on expenses on housing, health care, entertainment, etc., you can rightly guess that by the time one passes from this world, one consumes a lot. But how much of that contributes to one’s eternal life?
Yes, we need food, shelter, sports, transportation, entertainment, medications, for survival. What is the purpose of surviving? In other words, what is the meaning of life here on earth? The main purpose of life here on earth is to prepare ourselves and others for eternal life.
How much time, talent and treasure do we dedicate to working for eternal life? Some people say: We do not have to work for eternal life; Jesus already gained it for us! We just have to declare Jesus as our Lord and Savior and then we are saved! But, in Matthew 7:21, Jesus himself begs to differ, saying: “Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do what my Father wants them to do.” That is why in my grace before meals I say: “Lord bless this food so that it may give me energy to do your will.”
The easiest way to work for food that endures for eternal life is to seek to do the will of God at all times, in every aspect, with love of God and neighbor. As soon as you wake up offer all the words and activities of the day to God. Do everything for God.
In Exodus 16:2-15, Israelites complained of hunger. Yet in Egypt they had eaten their fill of flesh and bread! In the desert, God provided them with more flesh and bread. But all the same the food they had eaten did not help them to have eternal life.
In Chapter 6:1-15, John reports that Jesus multiplied five loaves of bread and two fish and fed about five thousand men. Today’s gospel text (Jn 6:24-35) shows that, on the day following the miracle, people were again hungry and were looking for Jesus to give them more of the same kind of bread and fish. That implies that every day, they would look for that kind of food that does not help them to reach eternal life.
Jesus seizes the opportunity and advises them to work for food that endures for eternal life. And he declares that he is that food, the bread from heaven. That is to say, we should be more concerned with spiritual food than physical food. We should get our spiritual food regularly from the word of God and from the Holy Eucharist – the Heavenly Bread, because in John 6:53-54, Jesus declares: “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise them to life on the last day.”
In the second reading (Eph 4:17, 20-24), St. Paul reminds us that our acceptance of Jesus, as the real source of our life and the nourishment of our souls, effects a total transformation in us. Having been nourished by the Bread from Heaven and the word of God, we bear witness to Christ by living renewed lives of love, kindness, compassion and forgiveness.
Let us dedicate more time, talent and treasure to knowing more about Jesus, heaven, and after life in general. Let us read the bible and other good spiritual books; let us yearn to form our faith at every available opportunity given by our dynamic coordinator of faith formation; opportunities given on our website, on EWTN, and other opportunities. Let us not dedicate too much time on things that do not help us to go to heaven. We have very little time left before we leave this beautiful earth. Let us work for Jesus, the bread of life.
“Seek first the kingdom of heaven and all God requires of you and everything else will be provided to you.” (Mt 6:33). The kingdom of heaven is the treasure for which one has to sell everything else and buy it (Mt 13:44-45), because it is our eternal destiny. “Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal. Instead store up riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy and robbers cannot break in and steal.” (Mt 6:19-20). In other words, LET US WORK FOR FOOD THAT ENDURES FOR ETERNAL LIFE: JESUS CHRIST.