Jesus wants us not only to look for Him, but also to look for Him for the right reason.


Manna-from-heaven

The people in today’s Gospel reading were looking for Jesus, which is good. The crowds were attracted to Jesus, but they were also looking to have their needs met, which is understandable. This is better than not looking for Jesus. But will the people in the crowds be able to persevere and concentrate on Jesus when the storms come? We don’t know if the people in the crowds persevered or not.

There are two examples of looking for Jesus in today’s readings: Stephen and the crowds. Whose example will you follow? “What are you looking for?” Will you look for Jesus for His sake alone? Will you look for Him because He is Risen Lord? Will you look for Jesus because of Who He is? “Fix your eyes on Jesus”. If you look for Jesus, you will find Him.

Jesus wants us not only to look for Him, but also to look for Him for the right reason. If we look for Jesus to fill, fulfill, or feed ourselves, we aren’t looking for Him for the right reason. Jesus and His Church are not a “filling station,” although He will fill us with His Spirit. Paradoxically, in the Christian life, we are filled when we focus on emptying ourselves. We are fulfilled when we deny ourselves. We are fed when we forget about ourselves and feed others.

The Lord has invited us to “come and see”. He wants us to “seek His face.” However, we must be doing this not because we have eaten our fill. We should not primarily be trying to get things from Jesus. We “should not be working for perishable food”. We are to seek Jesus for Himself and for love. We should not believe in a “prosperity gospel” but a “Jesus-gospel.” We are not primarily seeking to go to heaven and avoid the pains of hell. Rather, we seek to go to Jesus, Who lives in heaven, and to avoid final separation from Him, which is hell. We are to live the Christian life not only for good reasons but for God’s reason, that is, unconditional love.

This does not mean that we will not receive amazing material blessings on earth and perfect happiness in heaven forever. Nevertheless, we should seek the Giver more than the gifts. Because of love, we are to boast more of the cross than of the pleasures and satisfactions of Christianity. Live in love — unconditional, crucified love. Live for God alone.

If we love Jesus, our concern is to feed His sheep. In looking for Jesus, we should be looking for the cross, that is, to love sacrificially and unconditionally. We should be looking not “so much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love” (Prayer of St. Francis).

Jesus asked His first disciples this question: “What are you looking for?”  By your life, how are you answering Jesus’ question?

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