Taste and See: the Lord of loving patience

Lourdes tabernacle

The Gospel on Sunday last, the 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time, was the first of the readings from Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John which distinguishes the Sundays of August this year (albeit interrupted this year by the feast of the Assumption, kept on Sunday 16th August in England and Wales).

When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into those boats and crossed to Capernaum to look for Jesus. When they found him on the other side, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’
Jesus answered:

‘I tell you most solemnly,
you are not looking for me because you have seen the signs
but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat.
Do not work for food that cannot last,
but work for food that endures to eternal life,
the kind of food the Son of Man is offering you,
for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal.’

Then they said to him, ‘What must we do if we are to do the works that God wants?’ Jesus gave them this answer, ‘This is working for God: you must believe in the one he has sent.’ So they said, ‘What sign will you give to show us that we should believe in you? What work will you do? Our fathers had manna to eat in the desert; as scripture says: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ Jesus answered:

‘I tell you most solemnly,
it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven,
it is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven,
the true bread;
for the bread of God
is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.’

‘Sir,’ they said ‘give us that bread always.’ Jesus answered:

‘I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never be hungry;
he who believes in me will never thirst.’

John 6:24-35

The Gospel shows Jesus gently challenging those who come and seek him out.

Sure, they are looking for something less than he is offering them.

Sure the last time they met he had cause to flee from them, heading for the hills lest they seize him to make him king.

Yet he patiently, gently, seeks to direct them onwards to something deeper than they know, and that is freely given to them.

They are not the easiest to teach, not the easiest to lead – and many will go away from him. Yet patiently he tries.

  • Where do you know the Lord to have been patient with you?
  • What teaching of the Lord, what guidance are you resisting?

Picture of Tabernacle in Rosary Basilica, Lourdes. (c) 2004, Allen Morris.

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