HOMILY FOR MONDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK OF EASTER YEAR B
HOMILY THEME: DO NOT LABOUR FOR THE FOOD WHICH PERISHES
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
“Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life.” John 6:26-27.
There are two ways to understand this statement of Jesus: First, what do I spend my time and energy on? And secondly, what do I ask from God in prayer?
What am I labouring for? What is it that pushes me out of bed in the morning and gets me engaged till I finally crawl back to sleep at night? Is it something that perishes (i.e. that can get exhausted, lose its value, change, decay, go out of fashion, spoil, die, etc.) or something that lasts forever?
How empty would my life be if by the time I come to the end of my life I see all that I have worked for passing away, change ownership, get lost or even cease to exist! If my life’s goal is to work so hard till I acquire all that this world has to provide, then I am only working for perishable things. In fact, I might as well not work at all.
This is why Jesus asked us in Matthew 16:26; “For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?” Again in Matthew 6:31-33, Jesus warns: “Do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”
Do not work just for money. Rather let your work be devoted to making life on earth a better place. Do not work only for your stomach, you will not always have the health to enjoy it. Rather, work for something that will outlive you such that long after your death, your work continues to help humanity.
On the other hand, the second way to understand what Jesus is saying is to ask: “Why am I looking for God?” The great multitudes in today’s Gospel passage obviously were looking for Jesus because they wanted their fill of bread and just like them, we often seek God because we want bread. We need God in our lives not because of who God is but because of what we stand to benefit from God.
We use God as a sort of ATM machine, a solid provider, a bread producer so to say. If we were really honest with ourselves, we would realize that we do not really worship God, we only patronize God as business partners do. We call on God when we are in need and the moment we get our needs met, we just push God aside. Or better put, we stop calling God as soon as we figure it how to get the material things for which we once depended on him.
Until we change our perception of God as an ATM machine, we would never stop getting disappointed each time our prayer are not answered. Until we realize that God himself is the supreme goal of our lives and that nothing else is as important as God, we would just keep getting frustrated; frustrated that God has not done enough for us and frustrated that the happiness we hope to derive from material things is just not there.
Dear friends, get this today – if God suddenly answers all your prayers right now, you will still be in need. Our only prayer should be that we are perfectly united with God because only God can perfectly satisfy all the yearnings of our heart. Our hearts are restless until they rest in God.
Even though Stephen was ordained a deacon to serve at tables, he soon discovered he had certain gifts and talents he wasn’t going to keep to himself. He started performing signs and wonders and this got him into trouble from those jealous of him. While the false accusations against Stephen were pouring in, his face started shining like that of an Angel.
Do you feel disappointed that God did nothing to prevent Stephen from dying despite his innocence? You shouldn’t be. Stephen got the best of it all, he got God himself; Stephen got the food that can never perish. This is the only food we should aspire for. Not even our very life is as important as being united with God.
Sing: You take the whole world and give me Jesus. You take the whole world and give me Jesus. You take the whole world and give me Jesus. I’m satisfied, am satisfied.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, fill me with all the graces, blessings and courage I need to proclaim you to the world by my thoughts, words and deeds. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Monday of the 3rd week of Easter. Year B. Bible Study: Acts 6:8-15 and John 6:22-29).