Daily Gospel Reflection – Memorial of Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Bishop Robert Barron
May 2,2022 Memorial of Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Gospel: Jn 6:22-29
The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat, but only his disciples had left. Other boats came from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread when the Lord gave thanks. When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. And when they found him across the sea they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered them and said, “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, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.” So they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
*United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, in today’s Gospel, the crowd that experienced the miracle of the loaves pursues Jesus to see more wonders. They finally track him down in the synagogue in the lakeside town of Capharnaum.
When they ask Jesus how he had got there ahead of them, the Lord chides 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.”
Ordinary bread satisfies only physical longing, and it does so in a transient way: one eats and one must eat soon again. But the heavenly bread, Jesus implies, satisfies the deepest longing of the heart, and does so by adapting the one who eats it to eternal life. The Church Fathers loved to ruminate on this theme of divinization through the Eucharist, the process by which the consumption of the bread of life readies one for life in the eternal dimension.