It was a cold, wintry day and there was a stray in our back yard. My father cautioned us, “if you feed the stray, it will remember your act of kindness. It will keep coming back for more. So what begins as an act of kindness might become a nuisance. Are you willing to put up with the nuisance?”
I am reminded of this experience as I read this Sunday’s Gospel. Might the crowd be something of a nuisance for Jesus?
The crowd is looking for signs that feed their hunger and address their needs. While Jesus understands that people seek him out because they ate their fill of the loaves, he urges them to seek more—“the food that endures for eternal life” (John 6:26-27). Jesus does not hesitate to challenge them and lead them beyond the signs they seek to a deeper belief in Jesus and the ultimate sign offered them: Jesus, “the bread of life” that truly satisfies.
The crowd asks Jesus to give them this bread always. Do they realize that for which they ask? Jesus invites the crowd and us to believe in him; to establish a relationship, coming to him in such a way that we take on his attitudes, his mission, his life.